STUDIES ON SPAIN AND INTERNATIONAL LAW: The Spanish Pushback Policy Before the Strasbourg Court: Strengthening the Walls of Fortress Europe?

Ángel Sánchez Legido
Catedrático de Derecho internacional público, Universidad de Castilla La Mancha, España (Professor of international law, University of Castilla La Mancha, Spain)

In N. D. and N. T. vs. Spain, the Grand Chamber of the ECHR flatly rejects the two great threats that the participating governments had posed to their powers of control. Neither attempts to artificially excise parts of its territory in order to exclude or limit the application of the Convention are admissible, nor it is acceptable to exclude non-admission measures from the scope of the ban on collective expulsions of aliens. However, through the surprising recourse to the doctrine of «culpable conduct», the Court sets as a general rule the compatibility with the Convention system of summary returns of aliens intercepted when irregularly crossing the border. The application of this doctrine is subject to conditions very loosely appreciated by the Court in favour of States, requiring the existence of effective and genuine means of access and that these means had not been used by the interested person due to imperative reasons not attributable to the respondent State. In this article it is suggested that, acting in this way, Strasbourg not only accepts the very questionable practice of hot returns, but also grants broad support to the policies of outsourcing of migration controls and to the safe State mechanisms.

1. INTRODUCCIÓN.—1.1. Al final se confirmaron los presagios.—1.2. La práctica española de devoluciones en caliente y su cuestionamiento ante los órganos internacionales de promoción y garantía de los derechos humanos.—2. EL SOMETIMIENTO DE LAS DEVOLUCIONES SUMARIAS AL CONTROL DEL TEDH.—2.1. La sujeción de los individuos afectados a la jurisdicción del Estado parte: el concepto de frontera operacional y la inadmisibilidad de la escisión de territorios a efectos del control migratorio.—2.2. La aplicación de la prohibición de expulsiones colectivas a las medidas de no admisión.—3. LA «CONDUCTA CULPABLE» DEL EXTRANJERO Y LA DUDOSA EXISTENCIA DE VÍAS DE ACCESO SEGURO.— 3.1. La eliminación de las exigencias derivadas de la prohibición de expulsiones colectivas en caso de acceso ilegal y violento al territorio del Estado.—3.2. La condición basada en la existencia de vías de acceso.—4. CONSIDERACIONES FINALES

asylum and refuge; border control; ECHR jurisdiction; expulsion of aliens; fortress Europe; hot returns; non-admission; non-refoulement; safe access means;

REDI Vol. 72 2 2020




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