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French court recognizes right to asylum for Russian nationals who fled mobilization or refused to fight in Ukraine

Source: Meduza

France’s National Court of Asylum has ruled that Russian nationals who left the country due to the threat of mobilization and mobilized men who refused to take part in the war with Ukraine and deserted have the right to refugee status in France. 

The court referenced E.U. asylum law in its ruling. The law allows for a country to grant asylum status to a person who faces persecution for refusing to participate in a conflict in which crimes could be committed.

At the same time, the court notes that refusing to participate in a war must be the asylum seeker’s only possible way to avoid committing war crimes.

The court ruling also says that the Russian Federation has committed war crimes during its invasion of Ukraine and that mobilization occurred on a large scale. The court notes, in addition, that Russian nationals had no way, in practice, to refuse to join the army and pursue civilian service instead, and that the draft itself proceeded with many violations.

According to the court’s decision, an asylum seeker must prove that he could be forcibly drafted into the Russian army in order to obtain refugee status. Just the fact of being in the reserves will not be considered sufficient grounds.

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