Key facts of the case:
The complainant, an Afghan national, filed an application for international protection in Austria and submitted various medical certificates to substantiate his mental illness. The Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum rejected his application explaining that a return to a familiar environment in Afghanistan and his relatives would rather lead to a significant improvement of his state of health. He was thus denied the subsidiary protection status, received a temporary entry ban, and was issued a return decision. The complainant appealed against this decision and brought forward that the authorities ignored the conclusions of a medical specialist. He further demanded an oral hearing. The Federal Administrative Court rejected this appeal, stating that it was not necessary to hold an oral hearing because the facts of the case were clarified sufficiently. The complainant then filed an appeal to the Constitutional Court according to Art 144 of the Austrian Constitution and argued that the Federal Administrative Court should not have regarded the facts of the case as clarified and should have conducted an oral hearing. The authorities’ assumption that the complainant will find a beneficial social safety net in Afghanistan would be against the expert's view, according to which a return to Afghanistan would significantly worsen the state of his health. The complainant argued that the omission of a hearing violates his right under Article 47 (2) CFR.
Key legal question:
The key question to be clarified was whether the Federal Administrative Court had to hold an oral hearing in this case in order not to violate Article 47 (2) CFR. The Constitutional Court referred to one of its previous rulings concerning a case with diverging medical findings, and stated that it has already been established that the Federal Administrative Court has to determine the actual health status of an applicant by way of an oral hearing or another expert opinion in case of conflicting medical findings. In this case, there are no two conflicting expert opinions, but still it is not clear what conclusions were to be drawn from the opinion. The Constitutional Court reasoned that the Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum had assumed that a return would significantly improve the state of health of the Afghan citizen, while the complainant referred to an expert opinion, according to which a return to Afghanistan would lead to a significant deterioration of the complainant’s health status. The Constitutional Court found that this contradiction should have been clarified by the Federal Administrative Court and also found that the Federal Administrative Court was wrong to assume that the facts of the case were clarified in the sense of § 21 (7) Federal Act on the General Rules for Procedures at the Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum (BFA-Verfahrensgesetz, BFA-VG).
Outcome of the case:
The Constitutional Court ruled that Article 47 (2) CFR was infringed on in the case concerning the non-recognition of subsidiary protection status and the granting of a temporary entry ban and a return decision concerning a mentally ill Afghan national. The facts were not clarified sufficiently as it was not clear what conclusions were to be drawn from the medical expert’s opinion. An oral hearing (in particular a hearing of a medical expert) would have been necessary in order to determine whether or not a return to Afghanistan would deteriorate the health status of the applicant.
The Federal Administrative Court (BVwG) is obliged to clarify contradicting medical findings on the health status of the complainant either in the context of an oral hearing or by another expert opinion. This consideration also applies to the present case, in which there are not two conflicting expert opinions, but in which it is not clear what conclusions are to be drawn from the present opinion: while the BFA considered that a continuation of treatment in a familiar environment with relatives in Afghanistan would lead to a significant improvement of the state of health, the complainant correctly stated in his complaint to the BVwG that the expert had predicted a "significant deterioration in the state of health" in the event of a return. This contradiction should have been clarified by the BVwG and should not have been assumed a clarified issue in the meaning of § 21 (7) BFA-VG, which is why there is a violation of Art. 47 (2) EUCFR. Thus, the contested ruling concerning the rejection of the application for international protection regarding the granting of the status of subsidiary protection with respect to Afghanistan as country of origin, concerning the refusal to grant a residence permit for reasons worthy of consideration, against the determination of the admissibility of deportation to Afghanistan, concerning the finding of non-existence of a period for voluntary departure, concerning the withdrawal of the suspensive effect of the appeal, and concerning the granting of a two-year temporary entry ban and against the order under 15b (1) Asylum Act 2005 has violated the complainant’s constitutionally guaranteed right to an oral hearing under Article 47 (2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
Das Bundesverwaltungsgericht (BVwG) ist verpflichtet, widersprechende medizinische Befunde entweder im Rahmen einer mündlichen Verhandlung oder durch ein weiteres Gutachten zum Gesundheitszustand des Beschwerdeführers aufzuklären. Diese Überlegung trifft ebenfalls auf den vorliegenden Fall zu, in dem sich nicht zwei widerstreitende Sachverständigengutachten gegenüberstehen, sondern nicht eindeutig geklärt ist, welche Schlüsse aus dem vorliegenden Gutachten zu ziehen sind: Während das BFA davon ausgegangen ist, dass bei Fortsetzung der Behandlung in einer vertrauten Umgebung bei Angehörigen in Afghanistan von einer deutlichen Verbesserung des Gesundheitszustandes auszugehen sei, hat der Beschwerdeführer in seiner Beschwerde an das BVwG zutreffend darauf hingewiesen, dass der Gutachter im Falle einer Rückführung eine "deutliche Verschlechterung des gesundheitlichen
Zustandes" prognostiziert hat. Diesen Widerspruch hätte das BVwG aufklären müssen und nicht von einem geklärten Sachverhalt iSd §21 Abs7 BFA-VG ausgehen dürfen, weshalb eine Verletzung von Art47 Abs2 GRC vorliegt. Der Beschwerdeführer ist somit durch das angefochtene Erkenntnis, soweit damit die Beschwerde gegen die Abweisung des Antrages auf internationalen Schutz hinsichtlich der Zuerkennung des Status des subsidiär Schutzberechtigten in Bezug auf den Herkunftsstaat Afghanistan, gegen die Nichterteilung eines Aufenthaltstitels aus berücksichtigungswürdigen Gründen, gegen die Erlassung einer Rückkehrentscheidung, gegen die Feststellung der Zulässigkeit der Abschiebung nach Afghanistan, gegen die Feststellung des Nichtbestehens einer Frist für die freiwillige Ausreise, gegen die Aberkennung der aufschiebenden Wirkung der Beschwerde, gegen die Erlassung eines auf die Dauer von zwei Jahren befristeten Einreiseverbotes und gegen den Auftrag gemäß §15b Abs1 AsylG 2005 abgewiesen wird, in seinem verfassungsgesetzlich gewährleisteten Recht auf Durchführung einer mündlichen Verhandlung gemäß Art47 Abs2 der Charta der Grundrechte der Europäischen Union verletzt worden.