European Court of Human Rights gives ruling concerning Finland in two cases of the return of asylum seekers to Iraq

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has today issued two decisions concerning Finland by which it has removed these matters from its list of cases.

In one case, the applicants were a couple and in the other case, the applicant was their adult son. The applicants had sought international protection from Finland in 2015. The Finnish Immigration Service rejected their asylum applications and decided to return the family to Iraq. The Administrative Court rejected the appeals and the Supreme Administrative Court did not grant leave to appeal in the cases.

The family applied for international protection again in 2018. The Finnish Immigration Service did not examine the new asylum applications as subsequent applications and imposed on the applicants a two-year entry ban to the Schengen area. The Administrative Court rejected the appeals against this decision and the Supreme Administrative Court did not grant leave to appeal.

The applicants lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights claiming that their return to Iraq would constitute an infringement of Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman treatment), Article 2 (right to life) and Article 5 (right to liberty and security of person) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The ECtHR had indicated to Finland interim measures according to which the applicants could not be returned until the ECtHR had ruled on their case.

The parents submitted a third application for asylum in Finland on 4 October 2019. On 6 April 2020, the Finnish Immigration Service granted the parents asylum under section 87, subsection 1 of the Aliens Act. The adult son submitted a third application for asylum on 6 May 2020. On 12 June 2020, the Finnish Immigration Service granted him asylum under section 87, subsection 1 of the Aliens Act.

Due to the above-mentioned reasons, the ECtHR considered that the circumstances that led to the complaints were duly resolved nationally and that it is therefore not necessary to continue the proceedings. It removed the complaints from its list of cases. With regard to the claims for reimbursement of their legal costs and expenses incurred before the Court submitted by the applicants, the ECtHR ordered the State to compensate M.A. and S.A. the sum of EUR 2.000 and A.A. the sum of EUR 1.500.

The decisions are available on the ECtHR website:

http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng?i=001-207621

http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng?i=001-207620

Inquiries: Miila Pöntinen, Legal Officer, Unit for Human Rights Courts and Conventions, tel. + 358 295 350 208

The email addresses of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs are in the format firstname.lastname@formin.fi.