Las devoluciones de extranjeros en frontera y el Tribunal Europeo de Derechos Humanos

di Pablo Meix Cereceda

El 13 de febrero de 2020 la Gran Sala del Tribunal Europeo de Derechos Humanos se pronunció en el asunto N.D. y N.T. contra España. La sentencia, favorable al Estado español, fue dictada por la Gran Sala y vino a revocar aquella dictada por una Sala del mismo tribunal el 17 de octubre de 2017. En la sentencia de 2017, la Sala había declarado infringidos tanto la prohibición de expulsiones colectivas de extranjeros como el derecho a un recurso efectivo en relación con la anterior prohibición.


The ECHR’s Grand Chamber delivered in February 2020 a judgment in the first case on summary removals of migrants at the border. Different from the Chamber, the Grand Chamber rejected all of the alleged violations. However, the judgment also dismissed the concept of “operational border” that the Spanish Government supported and rejected the argument of self-defence as a justification for the removals. Concerning the alleged violations, the Grand Chamber firstly addressed the prohibition of collective expulsions. While it held that there had been an expulsion, the Grand Chamber ruled that the lack of an individual examination was justified given that the migrants had placed themselves in an unlawful situation. The Grand Chamber thus confused procedural safeguards with the right to remain in the State, and legitimised expulsions at the border even if executed without due process. Secondly, the Grand Chamber discussed and dismissed the right to an effective remedy with a similar argument. Lastly, the Grand Chamber failed to assess the fact that one of the applicants was a minor at the time of the summary removal.

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