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Refoulement

The lawyer Kasatkina-Kouskou Svetlana provides legal services to third country nationals who are detained and face the threat of a forced return to their country of origin or a third country.

By saying “refoulement”, we mean the measure taken by the police authorities for the expulsion of foreigners who have entered illegally in the country, back to the State where they came from, or to the country of their nationality or residence.

The measure of refoulement is provided in Law 4251/2014 in two basic cases. Firstly, under the article 82 (paragraph 3), a foreigner whose entrance in the country is prohibited because he/she is registered in the List of Undesirable aliens, must leave immediately otherwise he/she is sent back to the country where he/she comes from, or to a third country where his/ her entrance is allowed. Also, under 83 (paragraph 2), in case of an illegal entry or exit from the country, the prosecutor of first instance court, after the approval of the prosecutor of the second instance court, can refrain from the prosecution for the act and shall communicate this decision to the commander of the police or port authority, who found the entry or exit, illegal so that he decides to send the foreigner back to the country of origin or provenance. In case that the immediate return of the third country national is not possible, according to the provisions of Law 4251/2014, the commander of the police or the port authority shall prepare a report and refer the third country national to the competent administrative authority for the deportation. Apart from the above cases, we can find the measure of refoulement of the alien in several provisions of Law 4251/2014, which aim to identify those persons charged to cover these costs or the amount of the costs.

Although the measure of refoulement requires some specific administrative act offensive before the competent administrative court, according to the article 15 par. 1 of Law 3068/2002, however, in practice that measure usually is performed informally and summarily, without respecting the procedural guarantees provided in the existing national and international legal framework. According to a recent report by the European Commission on the common policy against illegal immigration for the period 2005-2007, in Greece there were much more expulsions and deportations than the number of decisions.

It is obvious that in case of refoulement international commitments of Greece should be respected. Those commitments prohibit the refoulement of an alien to a State, where there is a risk of being prosecuted for reasons based on discriminations of any kind, such as sex, religion, ethnic origin, nationality, language, political opinion and sex orientation.


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