15 October 2013
No Asylum for ICC Witnesses, but no return to the DRC either
The District Court of Amsterdam held yesterday, on 14 October 2013, that three witnesses detained at the International Criminal Court since May 2011 are not eligible for asylum in the Netherlands. They are suspected of involvement in crimes against humanity in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and as such can be excluded from asylum under Article 1F of the Refugee Convention. Despite this, the Court held that the witnesses could not be returned to the DRC as there is a real risk that they will be detained, subjected to an unfair trial, and possibly given the death penalty. As such, the Court held that to return the witnesses would be contrary to the European Convention of Human Rights, in particular Article 6.