Netherlands - Council of State (Raad van State), ECLI:NL:RVS:2012:BY1583

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. 

Case name (in original language)
Case status
Case number
Date of decision
Court / UN Treaty Body
Council of State of the Netherlands (Raad van State)
Language(s) the decision is available in
Applicant's country of birth
Applicant's country of residence

The applicant is a stateless Palestinian, who arrived to the Netherlands from Lebanon with his family when he was 8 years old. In 2006 he was "declared undesirable" by the Dutch authorities. The "declaration of undesirability" has been lifted in 2010, but his residence in the Netherlands remained undocumented, and his legal obligation to leave the Netherlands continued. In May 2012 was put in an immigration detention centre, pending efforts towards his deportation to Lebanon. In June 2012 a lower instance court declared detention unjustified, and ordered to pay the applicant compensation for the time spent in detention. The authorities appealed that judgment to the Council of State. 

Decision & Reasoning

The Court reasoned as follows:

"4.2. From the information provided by the [authorities], the factual accuracy of which has not been disputed by the applicant, it follows that the Lebanese authorities are prepared to issue laissez-passers to both documented and undocumented (stateless) Palestinians. Furthermore, the Minister is in regular dialogue with the Lebanese authorities at both (senior) official and operational levels, which underlines the willingness of those authorities to cooperate in the laissez-passer process. In this state of affairs, there is no ground for the opinion that the foreign national cannot be deported to Lebanon within a reasonable period of time."


The Council of State overruled an earlier judgment in favour of the applicant, and upheld the decision to detail the applicant pending his deportation to Lebanon.