On the 8th of June 2023, the Advocate General (AG) Pikamäe of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued his Opinion in the case C-125/22. The case concerned a Libyan couple and their six minor children of which the father allegedly worked as a bodyguard for politicians in Libya. He was shot in the head and threated over the phone that he would be killed and his children abducted because of his work for the government. The Dutch authorities rejected their requests as unfounded and decided that the decisions serve as an obligation to leave the country. The applicants appealed and the Court of Ten Hague submitted preliminary questions to the CJEU on Article 15 of the Qualification Directive (rQD).

The AG first found that Article 15 rQD must be interpreted as meaning that, for each of the points listed in that article, the assessment of subsidiary protection must consider all the elements listed in Article 4(3) rQD including the individual status and personal situation of the applicant and all relevant facts relating to the country of origin. Furthermore, this assessment must be carried out in a manner that distinguishes the establishment of factual circumstances constituting evidence from the legal assessment of these circumstances, as the former includes the cooperation requirement under Article 4 (1) rQD. Furthermore, the AG stated that it is not necessary to assess the various points of Article 15 rQD together.

The AG then suggested that Article 15 must be interpreted as meaning that the individual status and personal circumstances of the applicant, including his profession, must be considered in the assessment under Article 15(c), insofar as they increase the specific risk of being exposed to indiscriminate violence. Finally, the AG stated that the “sliding scale” principle, whereby the more the applicant is specifically affected by factors relating to their personal situation, the lower the degree of indiscriminate violence is required to be shown, does not apply to Article 15 (b).

Based on an unofficial translation from within the EWLU team