Brussels Court of Appeal, X v Prosecutor, Nr. 2017/FA/707, 5 June 2018
The Brussels Court of Appeal states that according to article 1.1° of the 1954 Statelessness Convention, a person who is not considered a national by any State constitutes a stateless person. In assessing the statehood of Palestine, the Court takes into account the four criteria established in the 1933 Montevideo Convention and holds that, in accordance with the declaratory theory, the political existence of a State is not contingent on its recognition by other States. The Court determines that, based on these elements, Palestine must be considered as a ‘State’ hic et nunc.
According to the Court, the alleged absence of a Palestinian nationality legislation does not imply that the defendant ought to be regarded as a stateless person. Instead, what matters is that the State of Palestine considers the defendant as a Palestinian citizen by virtue of applicable national law. In particular, the defendant’s UNRWA Registration Card indicates Palestinian descent, whereas individuals of Palestinian origin and their descendents who sought refuge in Lebanon following the establishment of the State of Israel are recognized as nationals by the Palestinian National Authorities. It follows that the defendant is not a stateless person in the sense of the 1954 Convention.