In two judgments published today, the district court of Haarlem ordered the Dutch State Secretary for Immigration Matters, Mr. Teeven, to review the asylum requests of two witnesses at the International Criminal Court (´ICC´) in The Hague.

The State Secretary had rejected the asylum requests, arguing that the witnesses could not be considered to be "refugees" under the 1951 Refugee Convention as they fell within the ICC's witness protection program.

The witnesses, who were represented by lawyer Flip Schüller, successfully challenged this reasoning before the court. The Haarlem court found that the question of whether or not there is an actual risk of return to the country of origin, is not a factor in determining refugee status. The court quashed the decision of the State Secretary and ordered him to take a fresh decision on the asylum request.

A press release from the court, as well as the judgments (all in Dutch) can be found here.


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