T (Russian Federation) v International Protection Appeals Tribunal


T (Russian Federation) v International Protection Appeals Tribunal
Respondent/Defendant:International Protection Appeals Tribunal
Court/s:High Court
Citation/s:[2023] IEHC 271
Nature of Proceedings:Appeal
Judgment Date/s:25 May 2023
Judge:Simons G
Keywords:Country of Origin Information, Exclusion Clauses, Persecution, Refugee Law, Refugee Status
Country of Origin:Russia

Facts: The applicant was an adult male from the Caucasus region and was Muslim. He applied for international protection in Ireland on the basis that he was being targeted by the Federal Security Service (“FSB”) of the Russian Federation and that the FSB had made false accusations of terrorism against him because of his failure to co-operate with them. In particular, the applicant alleged that he had been falsely accused of travelling to Syria and being a member of a terrorist group known as “Imrat Kavkaz” or “Imrat Caucasus”. The applicant further alleged that if he were returned to the Russian Federation, he would be sent to prison for a long time and that the FSB would engineer his death and report it as a suicide or heart attack. The International Protection Appeals Tribunal made a finding that the applicant had a well founded fear of persecution on the grounds of religion, imputed political opinion and membership of a particular social group but then found that the applicant was excluded from refugee status on the basis that there was serious reason for considering that he had committed a serious non-political crime. The applicant challenged the decision of the Tribunal by way of judicial review.

Reasoning: The High Court (Simons J) concluded that the Tribunal failed to carry out the required individualised assessment in respect of the applicant and that its decision was therefore invalid. In particular, Simons J noted that the decision maker had failed to identify adequately the nature of the crime(s) the applicant was considered to have committed, which meant there had been no meaningful analysis of whether the crime was “serious”, “non-political” or whether the applicant had personal responsibility for these crime(s).

Decision: The decision of the International Protection Appeals Tribunal was quashed and the applicant’s application for international protection was remitted for reconsideration.

Principles:In order to make a valid finding that a person is excluded from refugee status there must be an individualised assessment of the nature of the alleged conduct and the applicant’s responsibility for same. Decision makers must distinguish between various stages of a criminal procedure when assessing what weight should be given to documents such as search warrants.
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