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, X and X v Prosecutor, Nr. C.20.0482.N, 26 February 2021
In this case, two applicants instituted an appeal in cassation against a judgement of the Ghent Court of Appeal of 28 March 2019 denying their request for recognition as stateless persons. According to the Court of Appeal the applicants could not be regarded as stateless persons because they were considered as Palestinian nationals by the State of Palestine in accordance with applicable law. As the Palestinian law referred to was not specified in the judgment itself, the Court of Cassation quashed the judgment because of an inadequate statement of reasons.
AGENTSCHAP INTEGRATIE & INBURGERING, “HvC verbreekt arrest dat naar Palestijnse nationaliteitswetteving verwijst”, 2021, www.agii.be/nieuws/hvc-verbreekt-arrest-dat-naar-palestijnse-nationaliteitswetgeving-verwijst.
Liège First Instance Tribunal, X, Nr. 20/770/B, 5 February 2021
The Tribunal assessed wether a man of Palestinian origin, as well as his underage children, could be recognized as stateless persons. According to the Tribunal, the inconsistent Belgian case-law on the question whether Palestine qualified as a State rendered it necessary to refer to the position of the organ constitutionally competent in the matter, i.e., the Belgian federal government. In light of the government’s refusal to recognize Palestine as a State, any attempt at indirect recognition of Palestinian statehood by the judiciary was in vain. The Tribunal accordingly confirmed the applicants should be regarded as being stateless in the sense of the 1954 New York Convention.
Brussels Court of Appeal, G. v. Kingdom of Belgium, Nr. 2019/KR/5, 19 December 2018
This case concerns an appeal by the Belgian State against the order on provisional measures in G. v. Kingdom of Belgium, which held that the Belgian state must enable two children born in Syria to travel to Belgium based on Belgium’s international obligations. While the judgment had been implemented and the children had been brought to Belgium, the Belgian State nonetheless claimed the initial order set a flawed precedent.
The Court of Appeal asserted that the mother’s original claim did fall under the jurisdiction of the ordinary courts as it concerned the subjective rights of children based on international law instruments. Furthermore, it ruled that the court of first instance did not exceed its jurisdiction by ruling that the children should be enabled to travel to Belgium even though the conditions of national law were not fulfilled, as it did so to avoid violations of their rights provided for by international law. On the other hand, the Court agreed with the Belgian State that the requirement of urgency for a summary procedure had not been fulfilled.
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.