Supreme Court, K.E. and G.E. v Prosecutor, Nr. C.21.0095.F, 19 November 2021
The Belgian Supreme Court examines a judgement concerning the existence of Palestine as a State. The Court recalls that the 1933 Montevideo Convention is to be considered as codified customary international law and therefore applicable in the Belgian legal system. The first article of the Convention prescribes four criteria which States should fulfil in order to exist, regardless of any recognition by third States. Consequently, Belgian courts have the authority to apply and interpret this article without this interpretation becoming neither a general and legal rule nor any kind of recognition by the Belgian State. Hence, the Court adjudges that the understanding of article 1 applied to the State of Palestine in the underlying judgement was legally constituted and therefore dismisses the appeal in cassation as unfounded.
Supreme Court, A.N.H., Nr. C.18.0400.N, 18 February 2019
The Court holds that a ‘State’ can be said to exist when the criteria laid down in the 1933 Montevideo Convention are fulfilled, and that the creation of a State is, in principle, not contingent on its recognition by other States. In light hereof, the Ghent Court of Appeal did not err in regarding the claimant as a Palestinian national, rather than a Stateless person. In particular, the Supreme Court rejects the claimant’s argument that Palestine could not be qualified as a State due to a lack of recognition by the international community.
Supreme Court, Prosecutor v X, Nr. C.16.0325.N, 23 January 2017
The Belgian Supreme Court examines a judgement of the Ghent Court of Appeal which previously held that Palestine cannot at present be regarded as a ‘State’, implying that persons of Palestinian origin may be eligible for protection as stateless persons. By holding, on the one hand, that the statehood of Palestine must be assessed by reference to the criteria of the 1933 Montevideo Convention, while finding, on the other hand, that recognition by third States is decisive, the judgement contains a contradictory statement of reasons. The judgement is accordingly annulled.