ECHR judgment of May 17, 2018 in the case of Latifi (Ljatifi) v. Macedonia (application No. 19017/16).
In 2016, the complainant was assisted in the preparation of the application. Subsequently, the application was communicated to Macedonia.
The case was successfully considered the complaint of the applicant on the inadequate consideration of the decision, based on classified information, about the expulsion from the country for reasons related to national security. The case has violated the requirements of Article 1 of Protocol No. 7 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
In 1999, the complainant fled Kosovo to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, where in 2005 she received asylum. The applicant’s residence permit was renewed every year until 2014, when the Ministry of the Interior deprived the applicant of the status of asylum seeker simply by stating that the applicant “represented a threat to national security” and ordered her to leave the state within 20 days of receiving entered into force regulations. Domestic courts left the ruling unchanged, noting that it was based on a security document obtained from the intelligence service. The courts did not consider the applicant’s argument that it was never familiar with the document.
QUESTIONS OF LAW
Regarding compliance with Article 1 of Protocol No. 7 to the Convention. (a) Applicability. The decree of the Ministry of the Interior resulted in the applicant losing her status of a person who was granted asylum, which was the only basis for her legal stay in the country. The decree contained a direct order to leave the territory of the state in a timely manner. The decision was not canceled, and its effect was not suspended, and no additional requirements were submitted for the execution of the decision. Thus, the applicant could have been sent at any time. The fact that the applicant was given a one-time permit to leave the respondent State and return and that the decision on the date in question was not executed was not sufficient to conclude that the decision was no longer valid or that it could not lead to the expulsion of the applicant. Both the permission and the tolerance of the applicant’s long stay in the country were the result of decisions taken by the authorities of the respondent state at their discretion, and were not based on the provisions of the law. Therefore, the decision of the Ministry of the Interior should be considered as a measure of expulsion, which falls within the scope of Article 1 of Protocol No. 7 to the Convention.
(b) The merits of the complaint. Considering the grounds of the contested decision, the only relevant fact that could be found out from the edited version of the security document presented to the European Court was the applicant’s alleged knowledge of the people involved in numerous thefts and acts of secretion and the applicant’s assistance to these people. However, no information was provided on the number or identity of these people and how they were related, if they had any, to the applicant. No actual details were provided in support of this information, and no criminal proceedings were initiated against the applicant in connection with participation in any crime in the respondent state or in any other state.
Since the applicant did not have access to the above document, which is classified as secret, and the Ministry of the Interior did not indicate the factual basis for the claim that the applicant was a threat to national security, the applicant could not present her case properly in the ensuing legal proceedings.
Moreover, nothing in the case file suggested that the domestic court would have been provided with the document in question, which had a security classification, or any additional factual data to verify whether the applicant really posed a threat to national security. Thus, the courts confined themselves to a formal investigation of the contested decision. In addition, the domestic courts did not explain the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of this document and did not indicate the extent to which they investigated the issue. Accordingly, they did not conduct any meaningful research on the approval of the executive authority that the applicant was a threat to national security.
In the case of a violation of the requirements of Article 1 of Protocol No. 7 to the Convention (it was adopted by six votes "for" with one - "against").
In application of Article 41 of the Convention. The European Court awarded the applicant EUR 2,400 in respect of non-pecuniary damage.