Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

Court recognizes Ministry of Foreign Affairs inaction unlawful

November 2, 2023

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Since August 2021 HCA Vanadzor has been protecting student S.K.’s rights, who did not have an identification document for months on end due to inaction of the RA Embassy and Consulate in the Federal Republic of Germany․ HCAV advocate Samson Galstyan filed a lawsuit with the Court claiming to recognize inaction of the RA Ministry of Foreign Affairs unlawful in terms of not providing S.K. with a new passport within the period specified by law. Two years later, in October 2023, the Court fully upheld HCAV’s claim.  

 

Since 2019, S.K. had been living in Europe in order to get an education. As her passport validity period was to expire on 1 May 2021, in January 2021 she applied to the RA Consul in Germany to get a new passport, paid the required EUR 146 in early February and submitted the required documents. 

 

The RA Embassy and Consulate to Germany assured that the passport had been sent to S.K. via DHL Express post service, however, even DHL Express notified S.K. in written form that no delivery had been made.

 

As a result, as of 6 October 2021, S.K.,a student in one of the best universities, did not have a valid passport and was in a foreign country without appropriate documents, and it had been causing a number of issues. Meanwhile, representatives of the Republic of Armenia, in particular, the RA Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Federal Republic of Germany, left unattended all her appeals of assistance established by law.

 

As a result, S.K. did not manage to get a passport in the Federal Republic of Germany and took the first chance to fly back to Armenia and organized the process of getting a new passport as soon as possible. At the same time, she needed to get the document established by law, i.e., the certificate for returning to the RA, which is a one-time travel document allowing one to immediately leave a foreign country for Armenia in case of lack of a legal document ensuring the right to cross the border. S.K. was supposed to receive the return certificate from the RA Embassy, which is located in Berlin, while S.K. resided in a different city in Germany. As S.K. did not have a valid identification document to freely move in Germany, the only way left for her to get the certificate was to apply through a video call, submit documents electronically and receive the return certificate through post. 

 

HCAV also applied to the RA Ministry of Foreign Affairs Consular Department to consistently follow and smoothly organize provision of a return certificate to S.K. for the RA citizen in a foreign country not to face artificial obstacles and manage to return to the country of her nationality. 

 

Thus, not receiving her new passport, and having lived in Germany without a valid identification document for years on end, S.K. made a number of unplanned expenses and temporarily suspended her education to come to Armenia in November 2021 to solve her passport issues and return to Germany with her new passport to continue her education.

 

In 2021, HCAV filed a lawsuit against the RA Ministry of Foreign Affairs claiming to recognize  inactivity of the Ministry unlawful in terms of not providing S.K. with a new passport within the timeframe established by law. As a result of 6 court hearings, two years later, in October 2023, the Court issued a judgment and recognized the MFA inactivity unlawful. 

 

The judgment has a precedent significance, as for the first time, the Court has recognized MFA inactivity unlawful. 

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