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Croatia / Constitutional Court / U-I-503/2018

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Deciding Body type:
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding Body:
Constitutional Court
Type:
Decision
Decision date:
24/06/2020
 
Key facts of the case:

The petitioner submitted a proposal for a constitutional review of Article 54 (1) of the Act on International and Temporary Protection. The petitioner states that the disputed article is contrary to Article 22 (2) of the Constitution which stipulates that "no one shall be deprived of their liberty nor their liberty may be restricted, save in so far as provided by law and as decided by a court of law". In the same vein, the petitioner considers that the restriction of freedom of movement to a foreign national, including accommodation of applicants for international protection, should not be decided on by an executive body, namely the Ministry of the Interior, but only by the court of law. The Constitutional Court considers that the relevant legal norms applicable in this case are Article 22 of the Constitution, Article 5 of the ECHR and Article 6 and 52 of the Charter.

Key legal question raised by the Court:
Is a court of law the only competent body to decide on the entry, stay and expulsion of applicants for international protection?
 
Outcome of the case:
The Constitutional Court concludes that EU Member States can independently decide on the entry, stay and expulsion of applicants for international protection. However, not only the provisions of the Constitution must be respected when deciding on the application of measures that may restrict the movement of applicants for international protection and foreign nationals in transfer, but also other EU documents which stipulate that decisions on the restriction of movement can be made by administrative or judicial bodies. The court stressed that to protect the right to liberty guaranteed by the Constitution, the ECHR and the Charter, the restriction of liberty can occur only based on exhaustively listed grounds prescribed by law.