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Czechia/ Supreme Administrative Court/ 7 Azs 435/2018-32

K.Z. v. The Ministry of Interior (Ministerstvo vnitra)

Deciding Body type:
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding Body:
The Supreme Administrative Court
Decision date:
30/05/2019

Key facts of the case:

The Plaintiff, an 8-month-old Russian citizen, applied (via her parents) for asylum in the CZ. She claimed she suffers from congenital heart and lung defects and that even after undergoing a necessary operation in the CZ her state of health does not allow her to return to Russia. Inadequate health care and separation from her extended family might represent inhumane or degrading treatment. The Ministry of Interior (Ministerstvo vnitra) rejected the application. The Plaintiff challenged the decision before the court. The lower court had considered the decision of the Ministry of Interior to be lawful, but the Supreme Administrative Court cancelled the lower court’s decision. The Court argued that in exceptional cases the state of health of an asylum-seeker may be grounds to grant international protection for reasons that arise under the Asylum Act, Article 3 of the ECHR, and Article 4 of the Charter and the judicature of the ECtHR and the CJEU. In this case the Defendant did not determine the facts pertaining to the situation of the Plaintiff to the degree necessary to assess whether the Plaintiff’s health would justify the exception to grant asylum or not.

Key legal question:

Can the state of health of a Plaintiff be a reason to grant international protection?

Outcome of the case:

The Court argued that the state of health of an asylum-seeker might be a reason to grant international protection, but only in exceptional cases: if his/her return could directly harm his/her life [§ 14a, paragraph 2, letter b) of the Asylum Act] or if it might represent inhumane or degrading treatment [§ 14a, paragraph 2, letter d) of the Asylum Act], which would represent a violation of the CR’s international obligations. Based on the judicature of the ECtHR and the CJEU, the Court concluded that Article 3 of the ECHR and Article 4 of the Charter might also be breached if returning a foreign national to his/her country of citizenship could cause a rapid and irreversible deterioration in his/her health or could significantly contribute to reducing his/her life expectancy. It is necessary to determine the facts of the person’s situation first and then decide if the person’s health justifies granting international protection in a specific case.