KT (Georgia) v Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Attorney General and Ireland

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Respondent/Defendant:Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Attorney General and Ireland
Court/s:High Court
Citation/s:[2014] IEHC 26
Nature of Proceedings:Judicial Review
Judgment Date/s:28 Mar 2014
Judge:Barr J.
Category:Deportation
Keywords:Country of Origin Information, Deportation, Deportation Order, Protection
Country of Origin:Georgia
URL:https://www.courts.ie/acc/alfresco/7328f48c-e901-46c1-9be3-e64964c6169d/2014_IEHC_26_1.pdf/pdf#view=fitH
Geographic Focus:Ireland

Facts:
The applicant was a citizen of Georgia who claimed to have suffered persecution there on account of his political activities. He said that he fled in 1993 to Azerbaijan, where he remained until 1994, when an amnesty was issued by the Georgian government allowing Georgians who were politically active to return. He then continued his political activities but experienced problems again after elections in 1995. He was arrested after elections in 1999 and charged with involvement in an attempted coup. He was released after one day. In 2000, he fled to Switzerland where he claimed asylum, but returned to Georgia in 2004. The authorities discovered his previous political activities and beat him, after which they detained him for nine days and charged him with an offence.

He left Georgia again in 2004 and came to Ireland, applying for asylum under an alias. He completed a questionnaire, which gave an incorrect account of his activities during 2000 to 2004. He then withdrew his application, and indicated that he wished to return voluntarily to Georgia. Following the withdrawal of his asylum application, the Minister for Justice made a deportation order against him.

He did not return to Georgia, but went to Switzerland, where he hoped to receive medical treatment. He then travelled to Switzerland, Germany, Holland and Belgium, whence he was returned to Ireland in May, 2006 pursuant to the Dublin II Regulation.

He unsuccessfully applied for permission to re-enter the asylum process pursuant to s. 17(7) of the Refugee Act 1996. He then unsuccessfully applied for subsidiary protection and for leave to remain in the jurisdiction.

The Refugee Legal Service then made representations on his behalf for revocation of the deportation order. The RLS submitted two newspaper articles on his behalf, which consisted of interviews with him as a representative of opposition political parties in Georgia, and which apparently stemmed from 1999.

The Minister examined up-to-date country of origin information when determining his application. Regard was had to an extensive extract dealing with the conduct of criminal trials under a new Georgian criminal procedure code. He concluded that country of origin information confirmed that there was a functioning police and independent judicial system in Georgia and that state protection would be available to the applicant in Georgia, meaning that deporting him would not contravene s. 5 of the Refugee Act 1996. The applicant was subsequently deported to Georgia.

Reasoning:
Refusing to grant the reliefs sought by the applicant, the court concluded that the country of origin information before the Minister disclosed significant changes in the laws relating to criminal proceedings. It held that the Minister was entitled to come to the conclusion that there was a functioning police system and an independent and functioning judicial system in Georgia and that, if the applicant were to face some form of criminal prosecution on his return there, he would receive a fair trial under the new criminal procedure code.

Decision:
The court upheld the Minister’s refusal of the application for revocation of the deportation order made by the applicant.

Principles:

Country of origin information which discloses significant positive changes to the police and judicial system of an applicant’s country of origin will enable a conclusion to be drawn that state protection and a fair trial would be available to an applicant there, if needed.

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