France | Offers asylum to Russian defectors who refuse to fight in Ukraine
Defence Redefined
Published on 21/07/2023 at 14:34

A new doctrine was adopted yesterday by France’s National Asylum Court (CNDA), according to which Paris can grant asylum with refugee status to Russian soldiers who refused to fight in Ukraine.

Russians fleeing to avoid conscription and conscript defectors can be admitted with refugee status, given that a Russian citizen conscripted in this context could commit, indirectly or incidentally, war crimes, the court states.

The decision is the first in France regarding Russian defectors and, according to AFP, it was based on a European directive of December 13, 2011, and an EU Court of Justice ruling of February 26, 2015.

However, the specialized French administrative body, which examines similar matters, rejected the request of a Russian who declared himself a defector, considering that the statements and evidence he presented did not prove that he had been recruited to fight in Ukraine.

Specifically, the CNDA rejected the asylum request of a 28-year-old Russian man who fled his country in April 2019 due to his father’s continuous, violent actions and was then called to serve in the army, as part of the partial mobilization announced by President Vladimir Putin on September 21, 2022.

The French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (Ofpra) had also rejected the request, in the first instance, expressing doubts about the accuracy of his statements.

The CNDA, which hears appeals against Ofpra’s decisions, pointed to several irregularities in the documents presented by the 28-year-old, finding that he had been exempted from military service in 2013 and left the country in 2019 citing family and religious reasons.

The plaintiff’s lawyer, Sylvain Saligari, plans to appeal to the Conseil d’État, France’s highest administrative court.

Also read: Britain | Immigrants on a barge and a ‘blow’ for the asylum system




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