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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Prakken d'Oliveira, formerly known as Böhler, is a law firm with expertise and experience in asylum and immigration law, European law, administrative law, international criminal law and human rights. Our lawyers provide advice and conduct procedures before the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND), the Dutch Review Committee on the Intelligence and Security Services (CTIVD), the District- and Appeals courts, the Administrative Law Division of the Dutch Council of State, the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ), the Human Rights Treaty Bodies of the United Nations (UN), the International Criminal Court (ICC), and other international tribunals.