Article 4 - Prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Article 18 - Right to asylum
Article 19 - Protection in the event of removal, expulsion or extradition
Article 52 - Scope and interpretation
Key facts of the case:
The plaintiff, a citizen of Cameroon, was apprehended in the company of an Iraqi national for irregular border crossing and handed over to Croatian authorities in an abbreviated procedure on the basis of the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Slovenia and the Government of the Republic of Croatia on the readmission of persons whose entry or residence is illegal. The Croatian authorities then expelled the plaintiff to Bosnia and Herzegovina without carrying out any official proceedings. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against Slovenian state with the Administrative Court (Upravno sodišče) claiming, among other things, that Slovenian police authorities ignored their explicitly expressed intention to apply for international protection, thus violating Article 18 of the EU Charter (Right to asylum) and provisions of the International Protection Act (Zakon o mednarodni zaščiti) which provide that, before lodging an application, a person declaring intention to apply for asylum shall not be removed from the country. The plaintiff further claimed violation of Article 3 of the ECHR, alleging that Slovenian authorities failed to assess the risks of handing them over to Croatia in spite of well-documented allegations that Croatian authorities routinely expelled returned persons to Bosnia and Herzegovina, treating them violently and destroying their belongings. Pursuant to the suit, the authorities also did not inform the plaintiff about plans to return them to Croatia and the plaintiff was not granted the possibility to challenge extradition. The suit also alleged violation of Article 4 of Protocol No. 4 to the ECHR, banning collective expulsions, on the grounds that the authorities did not grant the plaintiff a chance to present circumstances of their individual case and reasons why they should not be removed from the country. The plaintiff is still in Bosnia and Herzegovina, living in poor conditions in a refugee camp without the possibility to regulate their status.
The Court of First Instance found for the plaintiff, establishing that the defendant violated the plaintiff's rights in regard to non-refoulement and to protection from collective expulsion under Article 19, and the right to access to the asylum procedure under Article 18 of the EU Charter, and ordered the defendant to allow the plaintiff to enter the Republic of Slovenia and to apply for international protection without delay after the judgment became final. The State challenged the first instance judgment before the Supreme Court.
Key legal question raised by the Court:
The Supreme Court had to answer whether the action of State authorities amounted to violation of the rights to non-refoulement, to protection against collective expulsion and the right to access to the asylum procedure.
Outcome of the case:
The Supreme Court found that the plaintiff’s depiction of events and police proceedings was reliable. For example, the court found doubtful the description of the proceeding in official records which showed that both the plaintiff and their Iraqi companion had left their country for economic reasons, intending to reach France. In the court’s opinion, that both persons had given identical reasons for leaving their countries was unlikely. Besides, the plaintiff’s description of the proceedings at the police station related to irregular border crossing, in which they expressed intention to apply for asylum, but was ignored, was not dissimilar to description of similar proceedings at this police station in reports produced by the Human Rights Ombudsman and several non-governmental organisations, respectively. All these reports pointed to poorly documented facts of police proceedings in official records. Pursuant to the court, as per the International Protection Act, a person who declares their intention to apply for asylum cannot be removed from the Republic of Slovenia under the regulations governing the entry into, departure from and residence of foreigners in the Republic of Slovenia (i.e. the Foreigners Act (Zakon o tujcih)). The court further clarified that the state might only apply provisions of the Foreigners Act in cases when an individual who had expressed the intention to apply for asylum failed to do so for unjustified reasons for which they were responsible. In the plaintiff's case, this situation did not occur, as they were denied access to the asylum procedure due to illegal extradition. In the court’s opinion, this amounts to a violation of Article 18 of the Charter.
The Supreme Court also considered the obligation imposed on the state by the Court of First Instance to allow the plaintiff to enter the Republic of Slovenia and to apply for international protection without delay after the judgment became final. The state authorities alleged that the first instance decision was not enforceable. Among other things, they claimed that neither the International Protection Act nor the Foreigners Act provided for the possibility of submitting an application at the embassies of the Republic of Slovenia. The laws further do not provide for issuance of a visa for entering the state to apply for international protection. The court, however, related that such an allegation was unfounded. According to the court, the state is liable for the imposed obligation as, through competent state authorities, it has all the levers to enable the plaintiff to enter the Republic of Slovenia, including by adopting appropriate regulations, if need be. It established that such an arrangement would enable not only the plaintiff, but all individuals in a similar situation, to have their application for protection considered, and thus the state would act in accordance with Article 18 of the Charter.
The Supreme Court further explained that the purpose of the prohibition of collective expulsion is to provide an individual, subject to extradition to another country, with a procedural opportunity to present arguments for staying in the country, as there is a risk that they would otherwise be subjected in that country to acts incompatible with human rights, including to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment. According to the court, a state can effectively deny the allegation of collective expulsion if it proves that the measure was taken on the basis of an assessment of the specific case of each of the foreigners in the group. Such an assessment necessarily entails authorities comprehensively informing persons concerned that they are entitled to make a statement about specific circumstances of their individual cases. Based on this interpretation, the court found that the state failed to do so in the case at hand. In the light of the established fact, it would be possible to speak of an individual hearing if, upon the request made, the plaintiff was directed to international protection procedure, in which they would have the opportunity to present arguments against their return to their country of origin. Such a procedure was not granted to him after they had been surrendered to Croatia, as Croatian authorities summarily removed them to Bosnia and Herzegovina without a proper procedure assessing the plaintiff’s personal circumstances. In particular, the Supreme Court found that the plaintiff was not informed about the extradition procedure to Croatia. As the plaintiff was, before extradition, unquestionably only issued a detention order related to their extradition to unnamed foreign authorities, it could not be considered that they could effectively argued against the planned extradition to that specific country. The Supreme Court thus upheld the decision by the Court of First Instance finding violation of Article 19 of the Charter on the part of the state.
The Supreme Court also reaffirmed part of the decision by the Court of First Instance establishing violation of the principle of non-refoulement on the part of the state. While the defendant, among other things, claimed that its decision was based on the principle of mutual trust, namely that Croatia, as a Member State, complies with human rights requirements, the court rejected this presumption as rebuttable. The court noted that at the time of the police proceedings involving the plaintiff various reports produced by NGOs on the maltreatment of migrants by Croatian authorities and their systematic removal to Bosnia and Herzegovina without a proper procedure were publicly available. It further noted that availability of such information established the obligation of the defendant to assess whether Croatia was a safe country for the plaintiff. Pursuant to the court, such reports should be known to the state authorities and bodies responsible for extraditions, as they relate to the area of their competence in the implementation of which they are obliged to respect human rights. In the case at hand, the state authorities failed to provide for a proper risk assessment. Pursuant to the court, there is the obligation to carry out such an assessment whether or not a removed person later faced torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
The Supreme Court thus fully found in favour of the plaintiff and instructed the state authorities to facilitate the plaintiff’s return to Slovenia and to allow them to lodge an application for international protection. At the systemic level, the court instructed the state authorities to assess the risk of foreigners being subject to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in cases of extraditions to Croatia.
“1. The Court of First Instance ruled in its judgment and order: that the primary claim and the first side claim in the action should be dismissed (Point I of the operative part); that the second side claim in the action be partially upheld by establishing that the defendant (Republic of Slovenia), by handing over the plaintiff, A. A. (born …, a citizen of Cameroon) to the Republic of Croatia on 16 August 2019 at 10:00 at the border crossing Vinica on the basis of an abbreviated procedure under the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Slovenia and the Government of the Republic of Croatia on extradition and reception of persons whose entry or residence is illegal, violated the plaintiff's right to non-refoulement and to protection from collective expulsion under paragraph 2 and paragraph 1 of Article 19, respectively, and the right of access to the asylum procedure under Article 18 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (hereinafter the Charter), and ordered the defendant to allow the plaintiff to enter the Republic of Slovenia and to apply for international protection without delay after the judgment became final ( Point II of the operative part). It referred the plaintiff to civil proceedings for damages (Point III of the operative part) and ruled that the defendant is obliged to reimburse the plaintiff in full for the costs of the proceedings, which would be assessed in a special order (Point IV of the operative part).”
“2. It follows from the reasoning of the mentioned decision that the plaintiff's right to protection against collective expulsion under Article 19 (1) of the Charter was violated because the defendant did not dispel all doubts that in the procedure involving the plaintiff the competent police authority did not properly and objectively verify and assess personal (individual) circumstances of the plaintiff, or because the plaintiff was not allowed to defend himself before extradition with arguments against the measure of return or removal from the Republic of Slovenia.”
“3. The violation of the prohibition on return referred to in the second paragraph of Article 19 of the Charter is based on the assessment that the defendant was aware, in view of the then known and publicly available reports on the situation in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (related to the treatment of returned migrants by Croatian authorities and the living conditions of migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina), of the situation in both countries and should therefore examine whether the act of returning the plaintiff to Croatia and (due to chain return) to Bosnia and Herzegovina could put the plaintiff in serious danger from the point of view of the prohibition of inhuman treatment. Once such a threat has been identified, it should (in accordance with the principle of mutual trust between EU Member States) take the necessary measures to reliably rule out the possibility of a violation of Article 19 (2) of the Charter. However, the defendant did not obtain or assess information on the situation in Croatia and in camps in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the foreigners took refuge after their return, nor did it inquire in these specific circumstances of demonstrated danger about the fulfillment of the Croatian authorities' obligation to issue a return decision to returned aliens in accordance to the provision of Article 6 (1) of the Return Directive.1”
“10. The action under consideration was formally deficient in that it did not contain a claim relating to the alleged infringement of the right to asylum. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff stated the circumstances and on the basis of them alleged a violation of the said right from Article 18 of the Charter (which was also pointed out by the Supreme Court in annulment decision I Up 128/2020 of 28 October 2020). Namely, they claimed that at the time of their extradition to Croatia on 16 August 2019 at the Vinica border crossing their previously expressed intention for asylum was not taken into consideration, due to which they should have been treated in accordance with the provisions of the International Protection Act (hereinafter IPA-1), rather than being handed over to another country. In this regard, the lawsuit also requested that they be granted immediate return to the Republic of Slovenia, where their intention to apply for asylum should be considered in accordance with the provisions of IPA-1. This is a request for elimination of the consequences of the act or violation in the sense of the fourth indent of the second paragraph of Article 33 of ADA-1*, which by its nature follows and is therefore linked to a preliminary decision on the claim relating to the alleged human right violation.”
“13. This is not an unacceptable extension of the claim with the Court of First Instance finding a violation of the principle of non-refoulement under Article 19 (2) of the Charter, which provides that no one shall be removed, expelled or extradited to a State where there is a serious risk that they would be subjected to the death penalty, torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, instead of a violation of Article 3 of the ECHR (prohibition of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment). Namely, the plaintiff has already stated in the lawsuit that the principle of non-refoulement was derived from the prohibition set out in Article 3 of the ECHR and the case law of the ECtHR and the Constitutional Court, and that the State expelling someone must check whether the intermediate State provides sufficient guarantees to prevent that the person would be returned to another country without a proper risk assessment of them being subjected to torture or similar treatment. The applicant itself also states (on page 27 of the appeal) that Article 3 of the ECHR corresponds in content to the second paragraph of Article 19 of the Charter.”
“46. An individual may also not make a (formal) application. If they do this for unjustified reasons for which they are responsible, even though they were allowed to lodge one, the state shall not apply the said provision of the first paragraph of Article 36 of IPA-1, but the second paragraph of the same Article. However, for the plaintiff, the phase from the second paragraph of Article 36 of IPA-1 did not occur (yet), and could not occur, which all means that they were denied access to the asylum procedure due to illegal extradition, and which amounts to a violation of the fundamental right from Article 18 of the Charter. The Supreme Court also notes that in the case of an application (i.e. a written, formal application), extradition of the applicant to another Member State is possible, but only under the conditions of the Dublin III Regulation,8 when the other Member State is responsible to deal with the application. However, as is it is clear from the second subparagraph of the second paragraph of Article 3 of this Regulation, this procedure must also provide for the possibility for the applicant to oppose the surrender because there are reasonable grounds for believing that there are systemic flaws in the asylum procedure and in the reception conditions for applicants in another Member State that could result in a risk of inhuman or degrading treatment within the meaning of Article 4 of the Charter. For this purpose, Article 4 guarantees them the right to be informed, including of the country to which they will be transferred.”
“52. The allegation that it is not unenforceable is unfounded. Namely, the Republic of Slovenia is liable for the imposed obligation. Through competent state authorities, it has all the levers to enable (allow) the plaintiff to enter the Republic of Slovenia, including by adopting appropriate legal bases (regulations), if necessary. These would enable not only the plaintiff, but all individuals in a similar situation, to have their application for protection considered, and thus the State would act in accordance with the right to asylum under Article 18 of the Charter.13”
“68. The Supreme Court therefore rejects the view in the appeal that a request for guarantees interferes with the sovereign rights of another state. At the same time, the appeal does not even explain the importance of the sovereignty of another state from the point of view of the duty of the authorities of the Republic of Slovenia, especially since the appellant itself emphasizes its commitment to respect the provisions of the Charter and the ECHR.”
“72. According to the reasoning, this part of the challenged judgment is also lawful, as it is essential for the decision that the plaintiff was not informed about the extradition procedure to Croatia. As the plaintiff was, before extradition, unquestionably only issued a detention order related to their extradition to unnamed foreign security authorities in previously mentioned scope and circumstances of the proceedings, it cannot be considered that they could effectively defend himself against the planned extradition. The appellant also did not dispute the fact that in applying the bilateral agreement it is obliged to respect the provisions of Article 19 of the Charter and the provisions of the ECHR.”
“73. In accordance with paragraph 2 of Article 19 of the Charter, no one shall be removed, expelled or extradited to a State in which they are in serious danger of being subjected to the death penalty, torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Article 4 stipulates that no one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
“74. Article 52 of the Charter (entitled ‘Scope and interpretation of rights and principles’) states in paragraph 3 that in so far as this Charter contains rights which correspond to rights guaranteed by the ECHR, the meaning and scope of those rights shall be the same as those laid down by the said Convention. This provision shall not prevent Union law providing more extensive protection.”
“75. On the basis of this provision, it is clear that the content of rights, the protection of which is guaranteed by both international legal acts, is comparable, which means that the case law of the ECtHR must also be considered when interpreting Article 4 and the second paragraph of Article 19 of the Charter. This is further confirmed in the Explanations relating to the Charter of Fundamental Rights,22 namely that the reference to the ECHR in the third paragraph of Article 52 of the Charter covers the Convention and its protocols, whereby the content and scope of guaranteed rights are determined not only by texts of the said acts, but also by case law of the ECtHR and the CJEU. It is emphasized that the level of protection provided by the Charter should in no case be lower than the level provided by the ECHR. The explanations regarding the provision of the second paragraph of Article 19 state that this paragraph includes the relevant case law of the ECtHR regarding Article 3 of the ECHR. The CJEU also regularly points out in its judgments that the case law of the ECtHR in relation to Article 3 of the ECHR must be taken into account in the interpretation of Article 4 of the Charter.23”
“77. The principle of non-refoulement therefore ensures that an individual will not be returned to another country without the state authorities assessing whether that other country is safe for them. In view of the presumption of mutual trust between EU Member States, which is open to challenge, and taking into account that the case law of the ECtHR on Article 3 of the ECHR is taken into account when considering the prohibition in Article 19 (2) of the Charter, the principle of non-refoulement must also be respected, including in implementing measures between Member States. This, in turn, imposes an obligation on a Member State not to remove an individual from its territory if there is a risk of conduct in the recipient country (EU Member State) amounting to a breach of Article 4 of the Charter, as explicitly confirmed by the ECJ in the context of surrender of an asylum seeker within the framework of the implementation of the Dublin system. Namely, in the joined cases of N. S. v Secretary of State for the Home Department and M. E. and Others v Refugee Applications Commissioner and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (C-411/10 and C 493/10 of 21 December 2011), the Court emphasized that the surrender of asylum seekers under the Dublin system may not, in certain circumstances, comply with the prohibition set out in Article 4 of the Charter. It stated that the applicant would be in real danger of inhuman or degrading treatment within the meaning of this article if they were handed over to a Member State where there is a serious risk that there are systemic flaws in the asylum procedure and in the reception conditions for applicants. Consequently, in accordance with the prohibition laid down in the said article, Member States may not carry out a transfer where they cannot be unaware that such deficiencies exist in that Member State (points 86 to 94 and point 106 of the judgment). It follows from the judgment that data, including regular and unanimous reports by international non-governmental organisations showing actual issues in the country of destination, are the appropriate instruments for assessing whether the responsible Member State respects fundamental rights (explicitly in points 90 and 91 of the judgment).”
1 Directive 2008/115/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals.
8 Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person.
13 It follows, for example, from the judgment of the ECtHR in N.D. and N.T. v. Spain (no. 8675/15 and no. 8697/15) that Spanish national law regulates the possibility of lodging an application with the Spanish embassies and the ambassador’s participation in the transfer of asylum seekers to Spain.
22 Explanations relating to the Charter of Fundamental Rights (2007/C 303/02).
23 See judgments in C. K., H. F., A. S. v Republic of Slovenia, C-578/16 of 16 February 2017, point 68; Elgafaji v Staatssecretaris van Justitie, C-465/07 of 17 February 2009, point 28; Centre public d’action sociale d’Ottignies-Louvain-La-Neuve v Moussa Abdida, C-562/13 of 18 December 2014, point 47.
* ADA-1 – Slovenia, The Administrative dispute act (Zakon o upravnem sporu), 28 September 2006, and subsequent modifications.
“1. Sodišče prve stopnje je s sodbo in sklepom odločilo: da se tožba v delu primarnega tožbenega zahtevka in prvega podrednega tožbenega zahtevka zavrže (I. točka izreka); da se tožbi v delu drugega podrednega tožbenega zahtevka delno ugodi tako, da se ugotovi, da je tožena stranka (Republika Slovenija), s tem ko je po skrajšanem postopku na podlagi Sporazuma med Vlado Republike Slovenije in Vlado Republike Hrvaške o izročitvi in sprejemu oseb, katerih vstop ali prebivanje je nezakonito, tožnika po imenu A. A. (rojen ..., državljan Kameruna) 16. 8. 2019 na mejnem prehodu Vinica ob 10.00 uri izročila Republiki Hrvaški, kršila tožnikovi pravici do prepovedi vračanja iz drugega odstavka in kolektivnega izgona iz prvega odstavka 19. člena ter pravico do dostopa do azilnega postopka iz 18. člena Listine EU o temeljnih pravicah (v nadaljevanju Listina), ter toženi stranki naložilo, da brez odlašanja po pravnomočnosti sodbe tožniku dovoli vstop v Republiko Slovenijo in vložitev prošnje za mednarodno zaščito (II. točka izreka). Tožnika je z zahtevkom za povrnitev škode napotilo na pravdo (III. točka izreka) in odločilo, da je tožena stranka dolžna tožeči stranki v celoti povrniti njene stroške postopka, ki bodo odmerjeni s posebnim sklepom (IV. točka izreka).”
“2. Iz obrazložitve navedene odločbe izhaja, da je bila tožniku kršena prepoved kolektivnega izgona iz prvega odstavka 19. člena Listine, ker toženka ni odvrnila vsakršnega dvoma o tem, da pristojni organ policije v postopku s tožnikom ni tehtno in objektivno preveril in ocenil osebnih (individualnih) okoliščin tožnika oziroma ker tožniku ni bilo omogočeno, da bi se pred izročitvijo lahko branil z argumenti proti ukrepu vrnitve oziroma odstranitve iz Republike Slovenije.”
“3. Kršitev prepovedi vračanja iz drugega odstavka 19. člena Listine temelji na presoji, da je bila toženka glede na v tistem času poznana in javno dostopna poročila o stanju na Hrvaškem in v Bosni in Hercegovini (glede ravnanja hrvaških organov z vrnjenimi migranti in glede bivanjskih razmer migrantov v Bosni in Hercegovini) seznanjena z razmerami v obeh državah, zaradi česar bi morala preveriti, ali bi dejanje vrnitve tožnika na Hrvaško in (na podlagi verižnega vračanja) v Bosno in Hercegovino lahko tožnika spravilo v resno nevarnost z vidika pravice do prepovedi nečloveškega ravnanja. Ko bi takšno nevarnost ugotovila, bi morala (skladno z načelom vzajemnega zaupanja med državami članicami EU) s potrebnimi ukrepi zanesljivo izključiti možnost, da bi v primeru odstranitve prišlo do kršitve pravice iz drugega odstavka 19. člena Listine. Toženka pa informacij o stanju na Hrvaškem in v zbirnih centrih v Bosni in Hercegovini, kamor so se po vrnitvi zatekali tujci, ni pridobila in ni ocenila, niti ni v teh specifičnih okoliščinah izkazane nevarnosti opravila poizvedbe o izpolnjevanju obveznosti hrvaških organov, da v skladu z določbo prvega odstavka 6. člena Direktive o vračanju1 vrnjenim tujcem izdajo odločbo o vrnitvi.”
“10. Obravnavana tožba je bila formalno pomanjkljiva, saj v njej ni bilo zahtevka v zvezi z zatrjevano kršitvijo pravice do azila. Tožnik je v tožbi navajal okoliščine in na njihovi podlagi zatrjeval kršitev omenjene pravice iz 18. člena Listine (kar je izpostavilo Vrhovno sodišče tudi v razveljavitvenem sklepu I Up 128/2020 z dne 28. 10. 2020), in sicer je zatrjeval, da pri njegovi izročitvi Hrvaški 16. 8. 2019 na mejnem prehodu Vinica ni bila upoštevana pred tem izražena namera za azil, zaradi katere bi moral biti obravnavan v skladu z določbami Zakona o mednarodni zaščiti (v nadaljevanju ZMZ-1), ne pa biti predan drugi državi. V zvezi s tem je bil v tožbi postavljen tudi zahtevek, naj se mu zagotovi takojšnja vrnitev v Republiko Slovenijo, kjer naj se njegova namera za vložitev prošnje za azil obravnava skladno z določbami ZMZ-1. To pa je zahtevek za odpravo posledic dejanja oziroma storjene kršitve v smislu četrte alineje drugega odstavka 33. člena ZUS-1*, ki po naravi stvari sledi in je zato vezan na predhodno odločitev o zahtevku, ki se nanaša na vtoževano kršitev človekove pravice.”
“13. Ne gre za nedovoljeno širitev tožbenega zahtevka s tem, ko je sodišče prve stopnje namesto kršitve 3. člena EKČP (prepoved mučenja, nečloveškega in ponižujočega ravnanja ali kaznovanja) ugotovilo kršitev načela nevračanja iz drugega odstavka 19. člena Listine, ki določa, da se nihče ne sme odstraniti, izgnati ali izročiti državi, v kateri obstaja zanj resna nevarnost, da bo podvržen smrtni kazni, mučenju ali drugemu nečloveškemu ali ponižujočemu ravnanju ali kaznovanju. Tožnik je namreč že v tožbi navajal, da je iz prepovedi, določeni v 3. členu EKČP, v sodni praksi ESČP in Ustavnega sodišča izpeljano načelo nevračanja, in da mora država, ki nekoga izžene, preveriti, ali vmesna država daje zadostna jamstva za preprečitev, da bi bila oseba vrnjena v nadaljnjo državo brez ustrezne presoje tveganja, da bo v njej podvržena mučenju ali podobnemu ravnanju. Tudi pritožnica sama pove (na 27. strani pritožbe), da 3. člen EKČP po vsebini ustreza drugemu odstavku 19. člena Listine.”
“46. Posameznik (formalne) prošnje lahko tudi ne vloži. Če to opusti iz neupravičenih razlogov, nastalih na njegovi strani, čeprav mu je to bilo omogočeno, država na podlagi drugega odstavka 36. člena ZMZ-1 ne uporabi omenjene določbe prvega odstavka istega člena. Vendar pri tožniku faza iz drugega odstavka 36. člena ZMZ-1 (še) ni, niti ni mogla nastopiti, kar vse pomeni, da mu je bil zaradi nezakonite izročitve onemogočen dostop do azilnega postopka, kar pomeni kršitev temeljne pravice iz 18. člena Listine. Ob tem Vrhovno sodišče pripominja, da je v primeru vložene prošnje (torej pisne, formalizirane prošnje) izročitev prosilca drugi državi članici sicer mogoča, a le pod pogoji iz Uredbe Dublin III,8 kadar je za obravnavanje prošnje pristojna druga država članica. Kot je razvidno na podlagi drugega pododstavka drugega odstavka 3. člena te uredbe, pa mora biti tudi v tem postopku zagotovljena možnost, da prosilec nasprotuje predaji zaradi obstoja utemeljene domneve, da v drugi državi članici obstajajo sistemske pomanjkljivosti v zvezi z azilnim postopkom in s pogoji za sprejem prosilcev, ki bi lahko povzročile nevarnost nečloveškega ali poniževalnega ravnanja v smislu 4. člena Listine. V ta namen mu je v 4. členu zagotovljena tudi pravica do obveščenosti, med drugim o tem, v katero državo bo predan.”
“52. Trditev o neizvršljivosti ni utemeljena. Zavezanka naložene obveznosti je namreč Republika Slovenija, ki ima preko pristojnih državnih organov vse vzvode, da tožniku omogoči (dovoli) vstop v Republiko Slovenijo, torej tudi s sprejemom ustreznih pravnih podlag (predpisov), če je potrebno. Te bi ne le tožniku, ampak vsem posameznikom v podobnem položaju, omogočile obravnavo prošnje za zaščito, s tem pa ravnanje države v skladu s pravico do azila iz 18. člena Listine.13”
“68. Vrhovno sodišče zato zavrača pritožbeno stališče, da zahteva po zagotovilu posega v suverene pravice druge države. Ob tem v pritožbi niti ni pojasnjeno, kakšen pomen ima suverenost druge države z vidika dolžnega ravnanja organov Republike Slovenije, sploh, ker pritožnica sama poudarja zavezanost k spoštovanju določb Listine in EKČP.”
“72. Po obrazloženem je izpodbijana sodba tudi v tem delu zakonita, saj je za odločitev bistveno, da tožnik ni bil informiran o postopku izročitve Hrvaški. Ker je bil tožniku pred izročitvijo nesporno izdan le sklep o pridržanju zaradi izročitve neimenovanim tujim varnostnim organom v predhodno navedenem obsegu in okoliščinah postopka, ni mogoče šteti, da bi se lahko učinkovito branil pred načrtovano izročitvijo. Za pritožnico pa tudi ni sporno, da je dolžna pri uporabi bilateralnega sporazuma spoštovati določbe 19. člena Listine in določbe EKČP.”
“73. V skladu z drugim odstavkom 19. člena Listine se nikogar ne sme odstraniti, izgnati ali izročiti državi, v kateri obstaja zanj resna nevarnost, da bo podvržen smrtni kazni, mučenju ali drugemu nečloveškemu ali ponižujočemu ravnanju ali kaznovanju. V 4. členu je določeno, da nihče ne sme biti podvržen mučenju ali nečloveškemu ali ponižujočemu ravnanju ali kaznovanju.”
“74. V 52. členu Listine (z naslovom "Obseg pravic in načel ter njihova razlaga") je v tretjem odstavku navedeno, da kolikor ta listina vsebuje pravice, ki ustrezajo pravicam, zagotovljenim z EKČP, sta vsebina in obseg teh pravic enaka kot vsebina in obseg pravic, ki ju določa navedena konvencija. Ta določba ne preprečuje širšega varstva po pravu Unije.”
“75. Na podlagi te določbe je razvidno, da je vsebina pravic, katerih varstvo je zagotovljeno po obeh mednarodnopravnih aktih, primerljiva, iz česar izhaja, da je treba pri razlagi 4. člena in drugega odstavka 19. člena Listine upoštevati tudi sodno prakso ESČP. To potrjujejo tudi pojasnila k Listini o temeljnih pravicah,22 in sicer da sklicevanje v tretjem odstavku 52. člena Listine na EKČP zajema konvencijo in njene protokole, pri čemer vsebina in obseg zagotovljenih pravic nista določena le z besedilom navedenih aktov, temveč tudi s sodno prakso ESČP in SEU. Poudarjeno je, da raven varstva, ki jo zagotavlja Listina, v nobenem primeru ne sme biti nižja od ravni, ki jo zagotavlja EKČP. V pojasnilih je glede določbe drugega odstavka 19. člena navedeno, da ta odstavek vključuje ustrezno sodno prakso ESČP glede 3. člena EKČP. Tudi SEU v svojih sodbah redno izpostavlja, da je sodno prakso ESČP v zvezi s 3. členom EKČP treba upoštevati pri razlagi 4. člena Listine.23”
“77. Načelo nevračanja torej zagotavlja, da posameznik ne bo vrnjen v drugo državo, ne da bi državni organi presodili, ali je ta druga država zanj varna. Glede na izpodbojno domnevo o medsebojnem zaupanju med državami članicami EU in upoštevaje, da se pri obravnavi prepovedi iz drugega odstavka 19. člena Listine upošteva sodna praksa ESČP glede 3. člena EKČP, je treba načelo nevračanja spoštovati tudi v okviru izvajanja ukrepov med državami članicami. To pa državi članici nalaga obveznost, da posameznika ne odstrani s svojega ozemlja, če v državi prejemnici (članici EU) obstaja tveganje za ravnanja, ki bi pomenila kršitev 4. člena Listine, kar je SEU izrecno potrdilo v zvezi s predajo prosilca za azil v okviru izvajanja dublinskega sistema. V združenih zadevah N. S. proti Secretary of State for the Home Department in M. E. in drugi proti Refugee Applications Commissioner, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (C-411/10 in C 493/10 z dne 21. 12. 2011) je namreč poudarilo, da je mogoče, da predaja prosilcev za azil v okviru dublinskega sistema v nekaterih okoliščinah ni v skladu s prepovedjo iz člena 4 Listine. Navedlo je, da bi bil prosilec v dejanski nevarnosti nečloveškega ali ponižujočega ravnanja v smislu tega člena, če bi bil predan v državo članico, v kateri je resna nevarnost, da obstajajo sistemske pomanjkljivosti azilnega postopka in pogojev za sprejem prosilcev. Zato države članice v skladu s prepovedjo iz navedenega člena ne smejo opraviti predaje, če ni mogoče, da ne bi vedele, da v njej obstajajo take pomanjkljivosti (točke od 86 do 94 in točka 106 sodbe). Iz sodbe še izhaja, da so primerni instrumenti za presojo, ali odgovorna država članica spoštuje temeljne pravice, podatki, kot jih je navedlo ESČP, med njimi redna in skladna poročila nevladnih mednarodnih organizacij, iz katerih so razvidne dejanske težave v namembni državi (izrecno 90. in 91. točka sodbe).”
1 Direktiva 2008/115/ES Evropskega parlamenta in Sveta z dne 16. decembra 2008 o skupnih standardih in postopkih v državah članicah za vračanje nezakonito prebivajočih državljanov tretjih držav.
8 Uredba (EU) št. 604/2013 Evropskega parlamenta in sveta z dne 26. junija 2013 o vzpostavitvi meril in mehanizmov za določitev države članice, odgovorne za obravnavanje prošnje za mednarodno zaščito, ki jo v eni od držav članic vloži državljan tretje države ali oseba brez državljanstva.
13 Iz npr. sodbe ESČP v zadevi N. D. in N.T. proti Španiji, št. 8675/15 in 8697/15 z dne 13. 2. 2020, tč. 34, izhaja, da je v nacionalnem pravu Španije urejena možnost vložitve prošnje na španskih veleposlaništvih in veleposlanikovo sodelovanje pri transferju prosilcev za azil v Španijo.
22 Pojasnila k Listini o temeljnih pravicah (2007/C 303/02).
23 Glej sodbe v zadevah C. K., H. F., A. S. proti Republiki Sloveniji, C-578/16 z dne 16. 2. 2017, tč. 68; Elgafaji proti Staatssecretaris van Justitie, C-465/07 z dne 17. 2. 2009, tč. 28; Centre public d’action sociale d’Ottignies-Louvain-La-Neuve proti Moussi Abdidi, C-562/13 z dne 18. 12. 2014, tč. 47.
* ZUS-1 – Slovenia, The Administrative dispute act (Zakon o upravnem sporu), 28 September 2006, and subsequent modifications.