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Decision No. 1268/1996 of the Criminal Court (First Instance) of Neapolis

Publisher Greece: Criminal Courts (First Instance)
Author Criminal Court (First Instance) of Neapolis
Publication Date 1996
Citation / Document Symbol 1268/1996
Other Languages / Attachments Greek
Cite as Decision No. 1268/1996 of the Criminal Court (First Instance) of Neapolis, 1268/1996, Greece: Criminal Courts (First Instance),  1996, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3f4f88184.html [accessed 12 July 2014]
Comments This is a summary in English provided by UNHCR Athens.
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Summary of facts: In October 1996, 70 Iraqi nationals, ethnic Kurds – among whom families with children – entered illegally into Greece, near Sitia. They were arrested by the police and brought to court for the offence of illegal entry. In their pleadings, through interpreter, they claimed that they left Iraq for well-founded fear of persecution, due to their ethnic origin and applied for asylum. The Public Prosecutor proposed the acquittal of the adult accused and the non-substantiation of the illegal act for the minors, because they were political refugees, according to article 1A2 of the Geneva Convention. The criminal aspect in the case is waived both by article 31 para. 1 of the a/m convention and by art. 4 para.3 of Law 1975. 

Reasoning and decision: A) The Court referred to article 31 para. 1 of the Geneva Convention, which waives, under conditions, the illegal character of illegal entry into the country of admission and stressed the principle of non-refoulement in conjunction with the right of a/s to temporary protection till their resettlement in a third country. It also noted the fundamental principles for proving the refugee status before criminal courts. B) In forming its final opinion, the Judge considered that the invocation of theirasylum status by the defendants represents a personal reason for acquittal, insofar as in the said case there is no offence and therefore no culprit. The effective examination of the asylum applications pertains to the police, but, judging by common knowledge and general information, there are serious reasons to believe that the accused Iraqi Kurds are suffering persecution in their country due to their ethnic origin and their fear is well-founded. 

The Court appointed an interpreter for Arabic and Kurdish. 

The Court acquitted the adult defendants and decided that the minors did not commit the offence of illegal entry.

Note: Judgment 1269/1996 is of similar tenet and acquits the 75thmember of the same group for the offence of illegal entry.

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