The Concept of “Safe Third Country”
Supreme Administrative Court Judgments 2347-8/2017 in Plenum
Assistant Judge, Greek Supreme Administrative Court (Council of State)
Law 4375/2016, by which Directive 2013/32 (Asylum Procedures Directive) was transposed into Greek law, is compatible with the Constitution. The Independent Appeals Committees were established as the competent bodies (quasi-judicial bodies) for examining appeals against the inadmissibility decisions taken by the Greek Asylum Service at first instance, in order to ensure the right to an effective remedy enshrined in Article 47 of the Charter. The obligation to hear the applicant under Article 14 of the Asylum Procedures Directive binds the asylum authority at first instance but it does not apply to appeal procedures. Further, the Court confirmed the Appeals Committees’ reasoning that the criteria laid down in Article 38 of Directive 2013/32 (Article 56 of Law 4375/2016) were cumulatively fulfilled as regards the applicant. The Court considered that there had been no violation by Turkey of the principle of non-refoulement with regard to the Syrians and that the Turkish legal framework, which establishes the temporary protection status granted to Syrians, provides protection “in accordance with the Geneva Convention”. Directive 2013/32 does not require the ratification by the third country of the Geneva Convention without any geographical limitation. Finally, the Court held that there are no reasonable doubts regarding the meaning of Article 38 of Directive 2013/32 and thus it was not necessary to refer a question to the European Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling.