Migrants and asylum seekers must be provided adequate procedural guarantees in asylum procedures and in immigration detention, a group of experts and judges asserted during a seminar for Greek and Italian judges held by the ICJ, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (SSSA), and Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) on 29-31 March.
Asylum applicants should have access to adequate information about the procedure and their entitlements in a language they understand, access to a reliable communication system with the authorities, the availability of interpreters, access to legal aid, and reasoned decisions, experts said during the seminar, held in the framework of the FAIR plus project. Speakers further emphasized that immigration detention must be subject to automatic review by an independent body with a power to release detainees, especially when removal is no more an option.
More than 30 judges from Italy and Greece came together for this event to discuss procedural guarantees for migrants and asylum seekers, related to the safe third country concept, the access to legal assistance and interpretation, safeguards related to immigration detention, and procedural guarantees in the asylum procedure, especially in the accelerated procedures.
A summary of the discussions
On the first day, the judges exchanged overviews of national systems and presented some specific questions regarding the Italian and the Greek systems. Following the discussion on the safe third country concept and its implementation in Greece, an Italian judge presented recent developments in the Italian case-law, and the role of the judge, country of origin information, accelerated procedures, the length of procedures and the question of credibility assessment.
On the second day, the discussion related to the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the rights of migrants and asylum seekers took place. The situation in Greece and in Italy was described by judges, in particular in relation to the access to the asylum procedure, the lawfulness of detention, the right to health and the question of access to a personal hearing when some of the hearings take place electronically.
An overview of the situation of immigration detention in Italy and Greece was presented by an Italian lawyer and an expert from UNHCR Greece. Speakers highlighted that in cases when people cannot be returned, they should not be kept in detention without a legal basis.
Accelerated procedures in law and in practice in both countries have been introduced by UNHCR Greece and Italy were addressed through a case-study and discussion, covering mainly the specific needs in accelerated procedures, automatic suspensive effect of appeals, and time limits in the accelerated procedures.
Finally on the last day, two lectures were delivered by Ledi Bianku, a former judge of the European Court for Human Rights, and an Associate Professor at the University of Strasbourg. First, looking into the guarantees in asylum and migration proceedings, Ledi Bianku stressed the need to always provide asylum applicants adequate information about the procedure and their entitlements in a language they understand, access to a reliable communication system with the authorities, the availability of interpreters, access to legal aid, and reasoned decisions in order to provide access to an effective remedy. In the second part of his intervention, Mr. Bianku discussed the detention of migrants, where he stressed the need for automatic review of detention, especially when removal is no more an option, by an independent body with a power to release.
The FAIR plus project is a judicial training and cooperation project supported by the European Union’s Justice programme, focusing on four countries Ireland, Greece, Italy and the Czech Republic. The aim of the project is to contribute to better judicial protection of the fundamental rights of migrants across the EU. Within the project the ICJ and partners are drafting of training materials and relevant legal briefings, implement training of the existing judicial trainers in the target countries, conduct four national trainings, two transnational seminars, and an international roundtable. The project is implemented in collaboration with national partners: Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI), Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (SSSA), Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) and Forum for Human Rights (Czech Republic).
Please find the agenda here.AgendasEventsNews