The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in Case EZ v Bundesrepublik Deutschland C-238/19 has issued a preliminary ruling detailing that an individual who flees military service in a violent regime should be entitled to asylum however, it will still be up to national authorities to work out whether that individual should qualify for asylum.
The applicant is a young Syrian national who fled Syria in 2014 to come and reside in Germany to avoid being enlisted in the military. Any man between the ages of 18 and 42 can be enlisted in the military in Syria and must serve a minimum of 18 months. There is no means to refuse and draft evasion is a criminal offence punishable by torture and other forms of ill-treatment. The applicant had just finished his university studies before fleeing to Germany.
Upon arriving in Germany, the applicant received subsidiary protection, but not full asylum status which would have provided him with significantly better protections such as longer stay permits and better opportunities when applying for family reunification.
The German authorities submitted that asylum status could only be granted to draft evaders who made their opposition to joining the military known to the authorities in the relevant country before fleeing for that purpose. The German authorities opined when denying asylum to the applicant that he did not face political persecution for his decision to flee.
The matter came to the attention of the CJEU after the Hanover administrative court asked for the Court to weigh in on the matter. The Court disagreed with the German authorities’ assessment that the applicant did not risk political persecution for his decision to flee. They said that “in the context of armed conflict, particularly civil war, and where there is no legal possibility of avoiding military obligations, it is highly likely that the authorities will interpret the refusal to perform military service as an act of political opposition, irrespective of any more complex personal motives of the person concerned.”
The Court has asked for the matter to be dealt with in the Hanover court in line with the directives laid on in this Court judgement.
Click here to read the full decision.