Case Note: De Souza Ribeiro v. France
9 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2013
Date Written: March 18, 2013
On 13th December 2012, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) delivered its judgement in the case de Souza Ribeiro v. France. The case raises important issues pertaining to the protection of right to private and family life and the right to effective remedy of third-country nationals to whom a removal order has been issued, and who are facing deportation.
This is the first case brought before the ECtHR concerning the French overseas region of French Guiana in South America. According to the constitution of France, French laws and regulations automatically apply in the overseas regions, although some adjustments – quite relevant for the outcome in his case – may be made according to the special features of the region.
The case confirms the existing jurisprudence on the right to effective remedy under Article 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), here, read in conjunction with the right to respect for private and family life, as set out in Article 8 of the Convention. The Court accepted that an appeal against a removal order does not need to have an automatic suspensive effect for it to be considered effective, unless it otherwise may lead to "irreversible damage". In other words, the Court drew a clear distinction between cases concerning Article 13 read in conjunction with Article 2, Article 3, or Article 4 of the Protocol No. 4, as opposed to the other Articles of the ECHR, including Article 8. Nonetheless, the Court noted that minimum procedural safeguards must be in place to protect individuals against arbitrary expulsion, and in the case of Mr de Souza Ribeiro, due to the rapidness of his deportation, he did not have access in practise to effective remedies.
Keywords: de Souza Ribeiro v. France, case note, ECHR, effective remedy, Article 13, right to private and family life, Article 8, deportation, French Guiana
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