Decision no. 458/2012 concerns an objection to the unconstitutionality of Article 13 (1) of the Romanian Citizenship Law no. 21/1991 (the “Romanian Citizenship Law”), an article which requires individuals applying for acquisition/re-acquisition of citizenship to submit their request in person.
The applicant argued that the article infringes (i) Article 16 (1) of the Romanian Constitution guaranteeing the equal treatment of individuals before the law, (ii) Article 21 (1) - (2) of the Romanian Constitution regarding the free access to justice, (iii) Article 24 of the Romanian Constitution – the right of defence, as well as (iV) the right to a fair trial guaranteed under Article 6 ECHR.
The Romanian Constitutional Court rejected the objection. It noted that, as this procedure is purely administrative, it does not fall under the scope of Article 16 (1) and Article 21 (1) - (2) of the Romanian Constitution, nor is Article 6 of ECHR applicable. The Romanian Constitutional Court highlights that the presence of the applicant (in the process of acquiring citizenship) is the first proof of the interest that one shows in obtaining citizenship, as an expression of the connection and belonging of a natural person to the Romanian State.
The case concerns the interpretation and scope of Article 12(1)(a) of the 2004 Qualification Directive (equivalent to Article 1D of the Refugee Convention). The CJEU held that persons who have registered with UNRWA or received UNRWA’s assistance will not be excluded from refugee status if that assistance has ceased for reasons beyond their control and independent of their volition. However, mere absence from UNRWA’s area of operation or a voluntary decision to leave it cannot be regarded as cessation of assistance. A person will be considered to have been forced to leave UNRWA’s area of operation where their personal safety was at serious risk and it was impossible for UNRWA to guarantee their living conditions. Where UNRWA’s assistance has ceased for reasons beyond the control of the applicant, and other exclusion clauses are not applicable, the applicant is automatically entitled to refugee status, but they are required to have made an application for refugee status.
Eight applicants, some of whom were stateless and others were nationals of former Yugoslavia, failed to request Slovenian citizenship within the six months’ deadline provided for permanent residents to apply for citizenship following Slovenia’s independence. Two months after the deadline, their names were erased from the Register of Permanent Residents, resulting in them becoming stateless together with approximately 25,671 other people in Slovenia, who became known as “the erased”. The Court held that the domestic legal system had failed to clearly regulate the consequences of the “erasure”, resulting in a violation of Article 8(2), 13, and 14 ECHR.
Maltese authorities denied Maltese nationality to a child on the basis that they were born out of wedlock to a Maltese father and a British mother. Domestic legislation only conferred nationality to children born out of wedlock if the mother was Maltese. The Court rejected the argument advanced by the Maltese Government that this case was justified on the basis that a mother is always certain, whereas a father is not. It concluded that no reasonable grounds were adduced to justify such a difference in the treatment of the applicant and found a violation of Article 14 in conjunction with Article 8 ECHR.
Saharawi refugees living in its camps have not explicitly or implicitly been recognised as Algerian nationals, by the Algerian Government. The applicant’s passport issued by the Algerian Government grants the status of a travel document. Specifically, it was granted to allow the applicant to travel for medical reasons. The applicant’s stateless status must be recognised.
The applicant, who is stateless, was fined for violating immigration rules, and an expulsion order was issued against him, with a detention in an immigration detention centre prior to the expulsion. The applicant appealed against the detention, but the Court found no reasons to question the lawfulness of detention, as the law allows to detain foreigners and stateless persons prior to their expulsion.
The applicant was born in the Soviet Union on the territory of Russia. The facts as to where the applicant lived and when are disputed in the case. In 1999 he was issued a Ukrainian passport, but a court later established that the place and date of birth he indicated were not correct, and his passport was confiscated and destroyed. The authorities argued that the applicant ought to prove he never acquired Russian nationality or alternatively that he renounced his Russian nationality.
The applicant's naturalisation request was denied due to a criminal record, even though he has resided in Luxembourg for decades and is a stateless person. The Court rules that the principle of avoidance of statelessness does not prevent States from setting conditions on access to naturalisation even for stateless persons.
The applicants are children born presumably in a surrogacy arrangement in Ukraine to two Austrian nationals. Even though the custody of the commissioning parents over the applicants was confirmed under the Austrian law, their parentage and consequently the Austrian nationality of the applicants was initially denied. The Court considered that the best interests of the child prevail in such a case over the prohibition of surrogacy under Austrian law, and confirmed the applicants' right to Austrian nationality.
In order to acquire Austrian nationality, the applicant renounced her Turkish nationality in 1997. Over a decade later it came to light that she has re-acquired Turkish nationality in 1998, which according to Austrian law resulted in automatic loss of the Austrian nationality. She renounced her Turkish nationality again in 2009, but in 2010 the Austrian authorities confirmed that she was no longer Austrian since 1998. The Court found that this was not in violation of Austria's obligation to avoid statelessness since the applicant's statelessness was not caused by a decision of the Austrian authorities.
The case concerns the prospect of deportation of a stateless Palestinian to Lebanon, and the justifiability of immigration detention. The Court ruled that because there is evidence that the Lebanese authorities are willing to issue laissez-passers to both documented and undocumented Palestinians, and the talks between the authorities of the Netherlands and Lebanon are pending, there is a prospect of deportation of the applicant, and the detention is therefore justified.
The applicant arrived to Poland from Ukraine shortly after the dissolution of the USSR. His application for facilitated naturalisation as a stateless person was rejected in 2010 as his statelessness was not evident. The state authorities presented evidence of applicant's Ukrainian citizenship which included a letter from Ukrainian consulate in Poland. The Court ruled that self-declaring as stateless does not have legal significance in the context of access to facilitated naturalisation, and held it against the applicant that he did not effectively challenge the state authorities' evidence of his Ukrainian nationality.
The applicant requested a travel document for stateless persons. The Court pondered on whether he may be stateless, and discussed the concepts of de jure and de facto statelessness, but ultimately ruled that it is irrelevant for the applicant's request because he does not have the right to reside legally in Germany, and therefore is not eligible for a travel document in accordance with Article 28 of the 1954 Convention.
The applicant was born in the USSR, on the territory of contemporary Ukraine. He was denied stateless status in France on the basis that he did not make any efforts to get recognised as a national by either Ukraine or Russia. The Court upheld OFPRA's decision, ruling moreover that since the statelessness determination procedure is not aimed at granting residence rights, the applicant cannot rely on potential violations of articles 3 and 8 ECHR in case he is forced to return to Ukraine.
The applicant lost her Khazakh nationality by operation of law due to not having registered with Khazakh consular authorities within 3 years of her departure. In these three years she had an asylum claim pending in France, and therefore could not have been expected to contact Khazakh authorities. OFPRA rejected her application for stateless status as she did not demonstrate to have made sufficient efforts to regain her Khazakh nationality.
The applicant, a Russian-speaking non-citizen of Estonia, applied for asylum in Russia, claiming discrimination on the basis of ethnicity in Estonia. The Court considers the problematic situation of non-citizens of Estonia, but concludes that the circumstances of the applicant's claim do not constitute basis for protection in Russia under the asylum framework.
The applicant has been residing in Russia since 2002 with a Russian passport. His request to renew his passport in 2011 was denied, reason being that his previous passport was not issued in accordance with applicable rules, the latter having been confiscated on the basis of the same decision. The refusal to renew the applicant's passport rendered him stateless, which was considered by the court as a strong argument to rule in favour of the applicant and declare the decision of the responsible authority unlawful.
The applicant received Ukrainian nationality in 2008, and as part of the relevant evidence he submitted a court ruling establishing the fact of his permanent residency in Ukraine. Soon after, he renounced his Vietnamese nationality. In 2011 there was another court ruling which reversed the ruling about the applicant's permanent residence in Ukraine. This prompted the authorities to cancel the decision on the applicant's acquisition of Ukrainian nationality, rendering him stateless.
The applicant challenged the Constitutionality of the Law on Citizenship, requiring Russian citizens who want to renounce their citizenship to have another citizenship, or a guarantee of being able to acquire a different citizenship. The Court determined that Russian citizens have the right to change their citizenship, but not an unconditional right to renounce it, referring to article 15 of the UDHR and the European Convention on Nationality. The prohibition on renunciation of Russian nationality with the aim of becoming a stateless person has been found to be in accordance with the Constitution of the Russian Federation.
The refusal to grant family allowance to a recognised stateless person because of the lack of a residence permit amounts to discrimination between stateless persons and refugees. Such difference of treatment arises from a legislative gap that had been identified in an earlier judgement and not filled yet by the legislator.