Slovenia / Supreme Court of the Republic of Slovenia / I Up 10/2018

Appellant: The Republic of Slovenia, Ministry of the Interior; Other party: international protection applicant.
Policy area
Asylum and migration
Borders and Visa
Deciding body type
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding body
Supreme Court of the Republic of Slovenia
Decision date
ECLI (European case law identifier)
  • Slovenia / Supreme Court of the Republic of Slovenia / I Up 10/2018

    Key facts of the case:

    The case originated from an application for international protection by an applicant. The problem emerged when the state ceased to provide the applicant material support for reception and health protection at the moment the transfer decision (to transfer him to Croatia) became enforceable. That meant that he was informed, that he had to empty his room at the asylum facilities, return his international protection seeker’s card and also lost the right to any financial assistance. He was left without accommodation or any support, and only survived with the help of acquaintances and friends, in a poor health state, which was known to the defendant. He filed an action against that act of the state (not specifying the exact body, which was responsible for the infringement) and the Administrative Court granted hid, deciding, that such treatment of the applicant constituted a violation of the right to human dignity from Art. 1 of the Charter and Art. 34. Of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia. The defendant filed an appeal against this decision with the Supreme Court of the Republic of Slovenia, however the latter agreed with the court of first instance and dismissed the appeal.

    The Supreme Court found, that in line with EU law (Reception Directive, Dublin III Regulation, considering the CJEU’s judgment in the Cimade case, para. 55.) a “final decision”, which is the point, up to which an applicant enjoys the rights under the Reception Directive and the Dublin III Regulation, does not mean “the processing of the application for international protection” and that the provision of minimum reception conditions only ends with the actual transfer of the applicant to another country. A transfer decision therefore does not constitute a “final decision” on the application and cannot result in the termination of rights, emanating from the Reception Directive; a different interpretation could lead to a violation of Art. 1 of the Charter. An interpretation of Art. 78. ZMZ-1, which led to the termination of rights at the moment of enforceability of the decision, with which the competent body rejected the application as inadmissible and determined another member state as responsible, was found incompatible with EU law, including Art. 1 of the Charter. Since an “EU loyal” interpretation is not possible, this provision has to be, from the decision of the Supreme Court on, disregarded.

    Key legal question raised by the Court:

    The key question was, whether the national provision (Art. 78. Of the International Protection Act (Zakon o mednarodni zaščiti: ZMZ-1), which stipulates that rights that the applicant enjoys based on that article only last until the enforceability of the decision of the competent administrative body on the application”. The question was, whether such a provision is compatible with EU law, including Art. 1 of the Charter, since it means, that the applicant loses any rights between the time of the enforceability of the transfer decision and the actual transfer to another member state.

    Outcome of the case:

    The Supreme Court upheld the judgment of the court of first instance (i.e. the Administrative Court). It found, that the defendant (Republic of Slovenia and the Ministry of the Interior, acting on its behalf), should not have used Art. 78. of ZMZ-1, since the article is incompatible with EU law. Therefore, it violated the applicant’s right to human dignity from Art. 1 of the Charter. The defendant was ordered to remedy the position of the applicant.

  • Paragraphs referring to EU Charter

    1. The court of first instance, based on first and second paragraph of Art. 66 of the Administrative Dispute Act (hereinafter: ZUS-1), in the contested decision (point I. of the operative part) decided to grant the claimant’s action, determining that the defendant, by ceasing to provide material conditions for reception and health care in line with International Protection Act (hereinafter: ZMZ-1) and Directive 2013/33/EU (hereinafter: Reception Directive) before the execution of the decision no. 2142-496/2016/7 (1313-08) of 14. 6. 2016 regarding the transfer of the claimant to Croatia, violated his right to human dignity from Art. 1 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (hereinafter: the Charter) or alternatively Art. 34 of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia (hereinafter: the Constitution). It ordered to the defendant to, immediately after the finality of the decision, remedy the unlawful state. In point II. of the operative part of the judgment it rejected the demand to issue interim measures.


    8. The appellant [previously: defendant, added by M.K.] proposes to the Supreme Court to grant the appeal, change point I. of the operative part of the contested decision by determining that the defendant did not violate the right to human dignity from Art. 1 of the Charter or alternatively Art. 34 of the Constitution, or, subsidiarily, to annul the decision and return it to the court of first instance for a renewed procedure.


    11. In the present case, the claimant filed the action based on Art. 4 of the ZUS-1, stipulating that in line with the administrative dispute procedure, the court also determines the legality of individual acts and actions, with which administrative bodies interfere with individual’s human rights and fundamental freedoms, if no other judicial protection is provided. In the action, the claimant asserts the illegality of the defendant’s actions, which led to him being left without any entitlements, ensured by the Reception Directive. Among the contested actions he highlights the act, committed on 14. 11. 2017, when a social worker from an asylum accommodation center, informed his representative that he no longer has a position of an applicant for international protection, and therefore has to empty his room at the asylum center and return international protection seeker’s card. The claimant’s right to human dignity and security from Art. 1 of the Charter and Art. 34. of the Constitution was therefore supposedly violated, since he was left without accommodation, material support and pocket money, to which he was entitled until the transfer to another country as an international protection seeker [reference omitted].


    20. In connection with the contested act the court of first instance’s starting point was that the loss entitlements (in abstract) from the Reception Directive, constitutes an intolerable interference with the human right from Art. 1 of the Charter. In accordance with that it did not, in the operative part of the judgment, specifically name the body of the defendant, which committed the violation or is obliged to eliminate it. Such formulation of the operative part of the decision is not incorrect in cases, where there is an interference with the legal position by law (ipso lega), since by definition, there is no determined holder of competences, meaning one body, which enacted the resulted legal consequence and is therefore responsible for its elimination. The appellant itself confirms this type of materialization of consequences, highlighting that in the present case did not involve making a decision on limiting or taking away of entitlements and that the inferred loss of entitlements is a result of the complainant’s loss of international protection seeker’s status by the law itself. The arguments in the application can therefore not be understood as an argument for the lack of, or indeterminedness of the operative part of the contested decision. The appellant also did not claim, either in the reply to the action or in the appeal, that the contested action and its consequences were underspecified in the claim.


    Objections with regard to the correct use of substantive law

    25. Regarding the contended interference with human rights and fundamental freedoms, the Supreme Court stresses that in an administrative dispute, in line with the second paragraph of Art. 157. of the Constitution and Art. 4. of ZUS-1, human rights and fundamental freedoms, provided by the Charter and enjoying validity in the Republic of Slovenia in accordance with EU law (Arts. 3.a and 15. of the Constitution), are protected. Therefore, it is not necessary, either in the action or in the judgment, to invoke a parallel violation of a substantively equivalent or similar provision of the Constitution, since this could also lead to an incorrect delineation between the validity of the provisions of the Constitution and the Charter.

    26. From the point of view of the question, if the claimant provided sufficient claims and whether the court of first degree properly framed the substance of the human rights violation, the Supreme Court finds that it follows from the judgment of CJEU in C-179/11 Cimade and GISTI of 27. 9. 2012 that the requirements from Art. 1 of the Charter, which demand the respect and protection of human dignity, are in opposition to excluding an international protection seeker – even if only temporarily after the filing of an asylum application and before he or she is actually transferred to the responsible state – from the protection of international standards, set by the Reception Directive (paragraph 56. of the CJEU judgment) [reference omitted]. Due to a lack of relevant objections in the appeal, the Supreme Court does not have to deal with the question of whether the stance of the CJEU should be understood in the sense that even an abstract impermissible exclusion of a seeker from the protection of the minimum standards of the Reception Directive always constitutes a violation of Art. 1 of the Charter, without the materialization of concrete consequences for the applicant. This is also not essential for the evaluation in the present case, since it follows from the factual circumstances of the case that the claimant was in fact disadvantaged due to the consequences of the impermissible revocation of entitlements under the Reception Directive (above, paragraph 22. of the judgment).

    27. The central question regarding the proper use of substantive law, important for the assessment of whether there was an impermissible interference with the right to human dignity of the claimant, provided by Art. 1 of the Charter, is the question of interpretation and use of the second paragraph of Art. 78. ZMZ-1, stipulating that rights, an applicant gains based on the first paragraph of Art. 78., “last until the enforceability of the decision of the competent body regarding the application” [reference omitted]. In connection with that, it remains in contention between the parties whether this provision is in violation of EU law, more precisely the Dublin III Regulation and the Reception Directive.


    31. In line with that, a transfer decision from Art. 26 of the Dublin III Regulation does not constitute a “final decision” on the application for international protection in the sense of Art. 2(b) of the Reception Directive and Art. 2(c) of the Dublin III Regulation and therefore cannot result in consequences, meaning the termination of rights, emanating from the Reception Directive. A different interpretation could lead to a situation, constituting a violation of Art. 1 of the Charter. Member states are also obliged to interpret and use secondary legal sources of the European Union in accordance with their intentions and goals and in line with fundamental human rights, provided by the Charter. The Dublin III Regulation and the Reception Directive, relevant in the present case, state the respect of human rights, especially the right to human dignity, following from Art. 1 of the Charter, as one of their fundamental intentions [reference omitted].


    37. But since the transfer decision from Art. 26 of the Dublin III Regulation, in line with what was already stated, cannot mean the ending of the international protection application procedure, leading to the termination of the rights of the applicant under the Receptions Directive, ZMZ-1 also cannot stipulate that a decision on the international protection application in connection with the procedure under the Dublin III Regulation from Art. 51. Of ZMZ-1 constitutes the termination of the applicant’s rights under Art. 78. Of ZMZ-1, which transposes the entitlements from the Reception Directive to our legal system [reference omitted]. Therefore, the second paragraph of Art. 78. of ZMZ-1 is in contradiction with the Dublin III Regulation and the Reception Directive, insofar as the “decision by the competent body on the application”, after the finality of which the rights of applicants under the first paragraph of Art. 78. Of ZMZ-1 are terminated, includes the transfer decision of the applicant to the responsible state in the sense of Art. 26 of the Dublin III Regulation. If it was decided that the Republic of Slovenia will not process the seeker’s international protection application due to his transfer to another member state, the applicant’s rights can therefore only be terminated with the actual transfer of the applicant to another state (CJEU in case Cimade, above) and it is not permissible to apply the second paragraph of Art. 78. Of ZMZ-1 regarding the termination of rights at the moment of enforceability of the transfer decision. Only such a use of the provision of the second paragraph of Art. 78. Of ZMZ-1 is in accordance with the provisions of the Reception Directive, the Dublin III Regulation and Art. 1 of the Charter, ensuring the respect and protection of an individual’s right to human dignity. Such an obligation not to use the second paragraph of Art. 78. Of ZMZ-1 is also valid for all subsequent procedures before the defendant’s organs, without having to be decided again by the court in an administrative dispute procedure [reference omitted]. The Supreme Court does not at this point take a position on the question whether the provisions of Art. 51 of ZMZ-1, under which in case of a decision under Dublin III Regulation the seeker’s application is rejected as impermissible, is even in accordance with European Union law.

    38. Based on the abovementioned, the central contention of the applicant, in line with which the second paragraph of Art. 78. of ZMZ-1 should be used, since the claimant’s international protection applicant’s status ceased with the enforceability of the decision of 14. 6. 2016, issued in the transfer procedure to another member state in line with the Dublin III Regulation, under which he should be transferred to Croatia, is also unfounded. The mentioned provisions of ZMZ-1 should not be used as they are incompatible with EU law, and therefore the applicant acted illegally, thereby interfering with the claimant’s right under Art. 1 of the Charter, as found by the court of first instance in the operative part of the decision (which should otherwise be issued in the form of a judgment).

  • Paragraphs referring to EU Charter (original language)

    1. Sodišče prve stopnje je na podlagi prvega in drugega odstavka 66. člena Zakona o upravnem sporu (v nadaljevanju ZUS-1) z izpodbijanim sklepom (I. točka izreka) ugodilo tožnikovi tožbi tako, da je ugotovilo, da je tožena stranka s tem, ko je pred izvršitvijo sklepa št. 2142-496/2016/7 (1313-08) z dne 14. 6. 2016 o predaji tožnika Hrvaški, tožniku z dnem 14. 11. 2017 prenehala zagotavljati materialne pogoje za sprejem in zdravstveno varstvo skladno z Zakonom o mednarodni zaščiti (v nadaljevanju ZMZ-1) in Direktivo 2013/33/EU (v nadaljevanju Recepcijska direktiva), kršila pravico do človekovega dostojanstva iz 1. člena Listine Evropske unije o temeljnih pravicah (v nadaljevanju Listina) oziroma iz 34. člena Ustave Republike Slovenije (v nadaljevanju Ustava). Toženi stranki je naložilo naj nemudoma po pravnomočnosti tega sklepa odpravi nezakonito stanje. Z II. točko izreka pa je sodišče prve stopnje zavrglo zahtevo za izdajo začasne odredbe.


    8. Pritožnica predlaga, da Vrhovno sodišče pritožbi ugodi, izpodbijano I. točko izreka sklepa spremeni tako, da se ugotovi, da tožena stranka ni kršila pravice do človekovega dostojanstva iz 1. člena Listine oziroma iz 34. člena Ustave, podrejeno pa da ga v izpodbijanem delu razveljavi in vrne sodišču v ponovno odločanje.


    11. V obravnavani zadevi je tožnik vložil tožbo na podlagi prvega odstavka 4. člena ZUS-1, ki določa, da v upravnem sporu odloča sodišče tudi o zakonitosti posamičnih aktov in dejanj, s katerimi organi posegajo v človekove pravice in temeljne svoboščine posameznika, če ni zagotovljeno drugo sodno varstvo. S tožbo uveljavlja nezakonitost dejanj tožene stranke, ki so vodila do tega, da je ostal brez vseh upravičenj, ki bi mu pripadala po Recepcijski direktivi. Med navedenimi spornimi dejanji izpostavlja dejanje, storjeno dne 14. 11. 2017, ko je socialni delavec iz azilnega doma njegovemu pooblaščencu sporočil, da ni več prosilec za mednarodno zaščito, zaradi česar mora izprazniti sobo v azilnem domu in oddati kartico prosilca za mednarodno zaščito. Zato naj bi bila kršena tožnikova pravica do človekovega dostojanstva in varnosti iz 1. člena Listine in 34. člena Ustave, saj je ostal brez nastanitve, materialne oskrbe in žepnine, do česar je kot prosilec za mednarodno zaščito upravičen do predaje odgovorni državi članici.1


    20. Sodišče prve stopnje je v zvezi s spornim dejanjem izhajalo iz stališča, da je nedopustni poseg v človekovo pravico iz 1. člena Listine že sama (abstraktna) izguba upravičenj iz Recepcijske direktive. Skladno s tem zato v izreku izpodbijanega sklepa ni navedlo organa tožene stranke, ki je kršitev storil oziroma jo je dolžan odpraviti. Tak izrek pa ni nepravilen v primerih, ko gre za poseg v pravni položaj, ki nastane po samem zakonu (ipso lege), saj tedaj že po definiciji ni določenega nosilca pristojnosti, torej enega organa, ki je navedeno zakonsko posledico uresničil oziroma jo je v posledici sodbe pristojen odpraviti. Taki obliki nastanka posledic pa v konkretnem primeru pritrjuje tudi sama pritožnica, ki je poudarila, da v konkretnem primeru ni šlo za odločanje o omejitvi ali odvzemu upravičenj ter da je navedena izguba upravičenj tožniku nastala kot posledica tožnikove izgube statusa prosilca za mednarodno zaščito po samem zakonu. Njenih pritožbenih ugovorov torej ni mogoče razumeti kot očitek pomanjkljivosti oziroma nedoločnosti izreka izpodbijanega sklepa. Da pa bi bili očitano sporno dejanje in njegove posledice sicer premalo konkretizirani v sami tožbi, pa pritožnica tudi ni ugovarjala niti v odgovoru na tožbo niti v pritožbi.


    Ugovori glede pravilne uporabe materialnega prava

    25. Glede zatrjevanega posega v človekove pravice in temeljne svoboščine Vrhovno sodišče poudarja, da so v upravnem sporu po drugem odstavku 157. člena Ustave ter 4. členu ZUS-1 varovane tudi človekove pravice in temeljne svoboščine, ki jih zagotavlja Listina in ki v Republiki Sloveniji veljajo skladno s pravom Evropske unije (3.a ter 15. člen Ustave). Zato tudi ni treba ne pri tožbenem zahtevku ne v sodbi uveljavljati oziroma ugotavljati tudi hkratne kršitve temu vsebinsko enake oziroma sorodne določbe Ustave, saj to lahko vodi tudi do napačne razmejitve med veljavnostjo norm Ustave in Listine.

    26. Z vidika vprašanja, ali je v predmetni zadevi tožnik ustrezno zatrjeval in sodišče prve stopnje tudi ustrezno opredelilo vsebino kršitve človekovih pravic, pa Vrhovno sodišče ugotavlja, da iz sodbe SEU v zadevi C-179/11 Cimade in GISTI z dne 27. 9. 2012 izhaja, da zahteve iz 1. člena Listine, v skladu s katerimi je treba človeško dostojanstvo spoštovati in varovati, nasprotujejo temu, da bi bil prosilec za mednarodno zaščito izključen – čeprav le za začasno obdobje po vložitvi prošnje za azil in preden bi bil dejansko predan odgovorni državi članici – iz zaščite minimalnih standardov, ki jih določa Recepcijska direktiva (56. točka obrazložitve sodbe SEU).14 Vrhovno sodišče se ob odsotnostI Upoštevnih pritožbenih ugovorov ne opredeljuje do vprašanja, ali je navedeno stališče SEU treba razumeti tako, da že sama abstraktna nedopustna izključitev prosilca iz zaščite minimalnih standardov iz Recepcijske direktive vselej pomeni kršitev 1. člena Listine, ne da bi prosilcu nastale konkretne posledice. To za presojo v konkretni zadevi tudi ni bistveno, saj iz dejanskega stanja zadeve izhaja, da je bil tožnik dejansko prizadet s posledicami nezakonitega odvzema upravičenj po Recepcijski direktivi (zgoraj, 22. točka obrazložitve).

    27. Osrednje vprašanje pravilne uporabe materialnega prava, ki je pomembno za presojo, ali je prišlo do nedopustnega posega v pravico do človekovega dostojanstva tožnika, ki jo zagotavlja 1. člen Listine, je vprašanje razlage oziroma uporabe drugega odstavka 78. člena ZMZ-1, ki določa, da pravice, ki jih prosilec pridobi na podlagi prvega odstavka 78. člena "trajajo do izvršljivosti odločitve pristojnega organa o prošnji". 15 V zvezi s tem med strankama tudi v pritožbenem postopku ostaja sporno, ali navedena določba nasprotuje pravu Evropske unije, konkretno Uredbi Dublin III ter Recepcijski direktivi.


    31. Glede na navedeno sklep o predaji iz 26. člena Uredbe Dublin III torej ne pomeni "dokončne odločitve" o prošnji za mednarodno zaščito v smislu 2. (b) člena Recepcijske direktive in 2. (c) člena Uredbe Dublin III in posledično tudi zaradi njega ne smejo nastati posledice, ki pomenijo prenehanje pravic, ki izvirajo iz Recepcijske direktive. Drugačna razlaga lahko privede tudi do situacije, ki pomeni kršitev 1. člena Listine. Sekundarne pravne vire Evropske unije pa so države članice dolžne razlagati in uporabljati v skladu z njihovimi nameni in cilji ter v skladu s temeljnimi človekovimi pravicami, ki jih zagotavlja Listina. Uredba Dublin III in Recepcijska direktiva, ki sta relevantni v konkretnem primeru, kot enega izmed svojih temeljnih namenov izrecno določata tudi spoštovanje človekovih pravic, še zlasti pravice do človekovega osebnega dostojanstva, ki izhaja iz 1. člena Listine.19


    37. Ker pa odločitev o predaji iz 26. člena Uredbe Dublin III skladno z navedenim ne sme pomeniti konca postopka odločanja o prošnji za mednarodno zaščito, ki bi vodila do prenehanja pravic prosilca po Recepcijski direktivi, tudi ZMZ-1 ne sme določiti, da odločitev o prošnji za mednarodno zaščito v povezavi s postopkom po Uredbi Dublin III iz 51. člena ZMZ-1 pomeni prenehanje pravic prosilca po 78. členu ZMZ-1, ki v naš pravni red prenaša upravičenja iz Recepcijske direktive.21 Zato je drugi odstavek 78. člena ZMZ-1 v nasprotju z Uredbo Dublin III in Recepcijsko direktivo, kolikor „odločitev pristojnega organa o prošnji,“ po izvršljivosti katere prenehajo pravice prosilcev iz prvega odstavka 78. člena ZMZ-1, vključuje tudi odločitev o predaji prosilca odgovorni državi članici v smislu 26. člena Uredbe Dublin III. Če je bilo odločeno o tem, da Republika Slovenija ne bo obravnavala prošnje prosilca za mednarodno zaščito zaradi njegove predaje drugi državi članici, lahko torej pravice prosilca prenehajo šele z dejansko predajo prosilca drugi državi (SEU v zadevi Cimade, zgoraj) in drugega odstavka 78. člena ZMZ-1 glede prenehanja pravic z izvršljivostjo te odločitve o predaji ni dopustno uporabiti. Zgolj tak način uporabe določbe drugega odstavka 78. člena ZMZ-1 je skladen z določbami Recepcijske direktive, Uredbe Dublin III in 1. členom Listine, ki zagotavlja spoštovanje in varovanje pravice posameznika do človekovega dostojanstva. Tako določena obveznost neuporabe drugega odstavka 78. člena ZMZ-1 v navedenih primerih pa velja tudi za vse nadaljnje postopke odločanja organov tožene stranke, ne da bi bi moralo o tem ponovno odločati sodišče v upravnem sporu.22 Pri tem se Vrhovno sodišče glede na vsebino spora še ne opredeljuje do vprašanja, ali je s pravom Evropske unije sploh skladna ureditev 51. člena ZMZ-1, po kateri se v primeru odločitve v postopku na podlagi Uredbe Dublin III prošnja prosilca zavrže kot nedopustna.

    38. Na podlagi navedenega je neutemeljen tudi osrednji pritožbeni ugovor pritožnice, po katerem je bilo treba uporabiti drugi odstavek 78. člena ZMZ-1, ker je status prosilca za mednarodno zaščito tožniku v predmetni zadevi prenehal z izvršljivostjo sklepa z dne 14. 6. 2016, izdanega v postopku predaje drugi državi članici skladno z Uredbo Dublin III, po katerem bi moral ta biti predan Republiki Hrvaški. Navedene določbe ZMZ-1 kot nasprotujoče pravu Evropske unije ne bi smela uporabiti in je zato ravnala nezakonito, s tem pa je posegla tudi v pravico tožnika iz 1. člena Listine, kot je to v izreku svojega sklepa (ki bi moral biti pravilno izdan v obliki sodbe) ugotovilo sodišče prve stopnje.