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CJEU - Joined Cases C 199/12 to C 201/12 / Judgment

X., Y. and Z. v Minister voor Immigratie en Asiel

Deciding Body type:
Court of Justice of the European Union
Deciding Body:
General Court (Fourth Chamber)
Type:
Decision
Decision date:
07/11/2013
Key facts of the case:
  1. These requests for a preliminary ruling concern the interpretation of Article 9(1)(a) of Council Directive 2004/83/EC of 29 April 2004 on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third-country nationals or Stateless persons as refugees or as persons who otherwise need international protection and the content of the protection granted (OJ 2004 L 304, p. 12) (‘the Directive’), read in conjunction with Article 9(2)(c) and Article 10(1)(d) thereof. 
  2. The requests have been made in proceedings, first, between the Minister voor Immigratie en Asiel (Minister for Immigration and Asylum, ‘the Minister’) and X and Y, nationals of Sierra Leone and Uganda respectively, in Cases C-199/12 and C-200/12, and second, in Case C-201/12, between Z, a Senegalese national and the Minister, concerning the rejection by the latter of their applications for residence permits for a fixed period (asylum) in the Netherlands.
Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:
 
The Court (Fourth Chamber) hereby rules
  1. Article 10(1)(d) of Council Directive 2004/83/EC of 29 April 2004 on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third-country nationals or Stateless persons as refugees or as persons who otherwise need international protection and the content of the protection granted must be interpreted as meaning that the existence of criminal laws, such as those at issue in each of the cases in the main proceedings, which specifically target homosexuals, supports the finding that those persons must be regarded as forming a particular social group.
  2. Article 9(1) of Directive 2004/83, read together with Article 9(2)(c) thereof, must be interpreted as meaning that the criminalisation of homosexual acts per se does not constitute an act of persecution. However, a term of imprisonment which sanctions homosexual acts and which is actually applied in the country of origin which adopted such legislation must be regarded as being a punishment which is disproportionate or discriminatory and thus constitutes an act of persecution.
  3. Article 10(1)(d) of Directive 2004/83, read together with Article 2(c) thereof, must be interpreted as meaning that only homosexual acts which are criminal in accordance with the national law of the Member States are excluded from its scope. When assessing an application for refugee status, the competent authorities cannot reasonably expect, in order to avoid the risk of persecution, the applicant for asylum to conceal his homosexuality in his country of origin or to exercise reserve in the expression of his sexual orientation.