European Court of Human Rights: review of the Grand Chamber judgment of 21 November 2019 in the case of Ilias and Ahmed v. Hungary (application no. 47287/15)

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DOI: 10.21128/2226-2059-2020-1-17-23

Keywords: prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment; right to an effective remedy; right to liberty and security; right to take proceedings by which the lawfulness of detention shall be decided speedily by a court and release ordered if the detention is not lawful; rights of asylum seekers; safe third-country


In it’s judgment in the case of Ilias and Ahmed v. Hungary, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights examined the complaint of two Bangladeshis who migrated through Macedonia and Serbia to Hungary, where they were detained in the Röszke transit zone. The applicants submitted that the conditions of their detention in the transit zone amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment and that the decision of the Hungarian authorities to remove them to Serbia put them at real risk of inhuman or degrading treatment which would be in violation of Article 3 of the European Convention. The applicants also claimed that their right to an effective remedy was violated by the alleged lack of remedies in respect of the conditions in the Röszke zone and alleged ineffectiveness of the domestic remedies against the applicants’ removal to Serbia (Article 13 of the Convention in conjunction with Article 3). Finally, the applicants claimed that their detention in the transit zone violated their rights guaranteed by the paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 5 of the Convention. The Court declared inadmissible the applicants’ complaint under Article 13 in conjunction with Article 3 (as regards available remedies in the transit zone in Hungary), and under paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 5, and found it unnecessary to examine the complaint on the inefficiency of domestic remedies (also Article 13 in conjunction with Article 3). Based on the reports and recommendations of the international and European organizations on the material and procedural issues in the asylum systems of Hungary, Serbia and Macedonia, the Court examined in detail whether the Hungarian authorities complied with their procedural duty to establish whether Serbia was indeed a “safe third country”. The Court concluded, that the Hungarian authorities ignored the risk to which the applicants would be exposed, after being removed to Serbia, namely, that the applicants would be denied the right to seek asylum and removed even further into Macedonia and eventually Greece. The Court also stated, that the Hungarian authorities did not have sufficient grounds to establish the general presumption that Serbia was a “safe third country” and that the decision to force the applicants to cross the border to Serbia exacerbated the existing risks. Therefore, the Hungarian authorities failed to discharge their procedural duty to assess the risks of the applicants being subjected to an inhuman or degrading treatment before the applicants’ removal to Serbia, which constituted a violation of Article 3.

Citation: (2020) Evropeyskiy Sud po pravam cheloveka: obzor postanovleniya Bol'­shoy Palaty ot 21 noyabrya 2019 goda po delu Ilias and Ahmed protiv Vengrii (zhaloba No.47287/15) [European Court of Human Rights: review of the Grand Chamber judgment of 21 November 2019 in the case of Ilias and Ahmed v. Hungary (application no.47287/15)]. Mezhdunarodnoe pravosudie, vol.10, no.1, pp.17–23. (In Russian).