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Tvivelaktiga metoder för livsavgörande beslut - En studie av tillämpningen av bevislättnadsregeln benefit of the doubt vid användandet av medicinska åldersbedömningar för att fastställa asylsökandes ålder

Ramsay Aigrot, Astrid LU (2019) LAGF03 20191
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Under 2015 ansökte 162 877 personer asyl i Sverige. Av dessa asylsökande var 35 369 ensamkommande barn. Detta var en femdubbling jämfört med föregående år. När den som söker asyl är ett barn har denne fler rättigheter och högre krav ställs på mottagandet. Det ansågs därmed viktigt att skapa en metod för att fastställa huruvida dessa asylsökande verkligen var under 18 år. Rättsmedicinalverket fick därmed i uppdrag att utveckla en metod för medicinska åldersbedömningar. Metoden har blivit mycket omdiskuterad med hänsyn till dess osäkerhet och stora felmarginaler.

Inom asylrätten ska bevislättnadsregeln benefit of the doubt (tvivelsmålets fördel) tillämpas. Bevislättnadsregeln har sitt ursprung i folkrätten och innebär att eventuella... (More)
Under 2015 ansökte 162 877 personer asyl i Sverige. Av dessa asylsökande var 35 369 ensamkommande barn. Detta var en femdubbling jämfört med föregående år. När den som söker asyl är ett barn har denne fler rättigheter och högre krav ställs på mottagandet. Det ansågs därmed viktigt att skapa en metod för att fastställa huruvida dessa asylsökande verkligen var under 18 år. Rättsmedicinalverket fick därmed i uppdrag att utveckla en metod för medicinska åldersbedömningar. Metoden har blivit mycket omdiskuterad med hänsyn till dess osäkerhet och stora felmarginaler.

Inom asylrätten ska bevislättnadsregeln benefit of the doubt (tvivelsmålets fördel) tillämpas. Bevislättnadsregeln har sitt ursprung i folkrätten och innebär att eventuella brister i den asylsökandes bevisning ska tolkas till den asylsökandes fördel. Det har riktats både nationell och internationell kritik mot Sveriges bristfälliga tillämpning av bevislättnadsregeln vid bedömningen av unga asylsökandes ålder. Framställningen syftar till att undersöka tillämpningen av benefit of the doubt vid bedömningen av den asylsökandes ålder, med särskilt fokus på när beviset medicinska åldersbedömningar används.

Framställningen utgår från en rättsdogmatisk metod och redogör för hur bevisprövningen i asylmål går till. Sedan kommer regleringen kring benefit of the doubt att presenteras med utgångspunkt i UNHCR:s handbok samt art 25.5. i asylprocedurdirektivet. Uppsatsen kommer sedan redogöra för hur osäkerheten och felmarginalen vid medicinska åldersbedömningarna borde påverka tillämpningen av benefit of the doubt. Slutligen kommer en rättssäkerhetsanalys att göras för att undersöka huruvida tillämpningen av benefit of the doubt vid bedömningen av den asylsökandes ålder kan anses rättssäker. Rättssäkerhetsanalysen kommer att utgå från ett formellt och ett materiellt rättssäkerhetsbegrepp.

Ur formellt hänseende, där tyngdpunkten läggs på legalitetsprincipen samt de förvaltningsrättsliga principerna objektivitets och likhetsprincipen, brister den svenska tillämpningen av benefit of the doubt. Detta beror främst på att principen tillämpas i för liten utsträckning med hänsyn till den osäkerhet som präglar de medicinska åldersbedömningarna. Utöver detta präglas bevisvärderingen som påverkar huruvida den sökande kan tillmätas benefit of the doubt av en hög grad av subjektivitet. Brister utifrån likhetsprincipen aktualiseras även i och med att den asylsökandes bevisbörda blir orimligt betungande, när denne kommer från ett land med bristande folkbokföringssystem. Tillämpningen av benefit of the doubt brister med hänsyn till den materiella rättssäkerheten, då det inte görs någon avvägning mellan förutsebarheten och etiska värden. När tillämpningen av benefit of the doubt brister i så många avseenden, särskilt ur rättssäkerhetshänseende, bidrar detta till att skapa en asylprocess där den asylsökandes rättigheter inte tillgodoses i praktiken. (Less)
Abstract
In 2015, 162 877 people applied for asylum in Sweden. 35 369 of these asylum seekers were unaccompanied minors. This was a five-fold increase compared to the previous year. When an asylum seeker is an unaccompanied minor he or she should benefit of certain rights, including housing, schooling and potential family unification. It was therefore
considered necessary to put in place a medical age assessment method to ensure that the unaccompanied minors were in fact under the age of 18. This task was requested of the National Board of Forensic Medicine (Rättsmedicinalverket). The Board developed a method for age assessment that has been very criticised, especially since the method is not sufficiently reliable and due to its wide margin of... (More)
In 2015, 162 877 people applied for asylum in Sweden. 35 369 of these asylum seekers were unaccompanied minors. This was a five-fold increase compared to the previous year. When an asylum seeker is an unaccompanied minor he or she should benefit of certain rights, including housing, schooling and potential family unification. It was therefore
considered necessary to put in place a medical age assessment method to ensure that the unaccompanied minors were in fact under the age of 18. This task was requested of the National Board of Forensic Medicine (Rättsmedicinalverket). The Board developed a method for age assessment that has been very criticised, especially since the method is not sufficiently reliable and due to its wide margin of error.

An important principle within the field of migration law is the so-called benefit of the doubt. Originating from international sources of law, this principle prescribes that in case of lack of evidence the asylum seeker should be granted the benefit of the doubt. The Swedish application of the principle with regards to age assessments has sparked both national and international criticism. The purpose of this essay is to examine the application of the benefit of the doubt when determining the age of asylum applicants, with particular focus on the use of medical age assessments as evidence.

The essay will begin by examining the way in which the evaluation of proof is carried out within the context of an asylum application in Sweden. Thereafter, follows a presentation and analysis of the relevant rules regarding the benefit of the doubt, consisting of the UNHCR Handbook and the EU Asylum Procedures Directive. Subsequently, the essay will discuss the effect of the ambiguities and margin of error in the currently applied method for medical age assessment, and its impact for the applicant as regards the application of the benefit of the doubt. Finally, an analysis will be made to determine whether the application of the benefit of the doubt in the asylum procedure when determining the age of the applicant can be considered adhering to the principles of legal certainty. The analysis will be based on both a formal and an ethical examination of the benefit of the doubt.

As concerns the application of the benefit of the doubt when relying on medical age assessments as proof and its consistency with rule of law requirements, several flaws were identified. First, the application of the benefit of the doubt barely takes into consideration the flaws that have been identified in the methods used for age assessment. Moreover, the evaluation of evidence is to a large extent impacted by subjectivity. These factors thus contribute to an unjustified restrictive use of the benefit of the doubt. Furthermore, the limited application of this principle fails to uphold the principle of equality, due to an unproportionate burden of proof on the asylum seeker. It is a fact that a majority of the unaccompanied minors come from countries with unreliable civil registration systems. Consequently, it becomes very difficult for these individuals to provide any written evidence with regard to their age.

The application of the benefit of the doubt also fails to meet the criteria for so-called “material legal certainty”. In order for a rule comply with “material legal certainty” the rule has to take ethical factors into consideration. There is no such consideration when applying the benefit of the doubt. The insufficient application of the benefit of the doubt regarding medical age assessments contributes to an ineffective system of protection for asylum seekers. (Less)
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author
Ramsay Aigrot, Astrid LU
supervisor
organization
course
LAGF03 20191
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
Förvaltningsrätt, Migrationsrätt
language
Swedish
id
8977229
date added to LUP
2019-09-16 13:56:51
date last changed
2019-09-16 13:56:51
@misc{8977229,
  abstract     = {In 2015, 162 877 people applied for asylum in Sweden. 35 369 of these asylum seekers were unaccompanied minors. This was a five-fold increase compared to the previous year. When an asylum seeker is an unaccompanied minor he or she should benefit of certain rights, including housing, schooling and potential family unification. It was therefore
considered necessary to put in place a medical age assessment method to ensure that the unaccompanied minors were in fact under the age of 18. This task was requested of the National Board of Forensic Medicine (Rättsmedicinalverket). The Board developed a method for age assessment that has been very criticised, especially since the method is not sufficiently reliable and due to its wide margin of error. 

An important principle within the field of migration law is the so-called benefit of the doubt. Originating from international sources of law, this principle prescribes that in case of lack of evidence the asylum seeker should be granted the benefit of the doubt. The Swedish application of the principle with regards to age assessments has sparked both national and international criticism. The purpose of this essay is to examine the application of the benefit of the doubt when determining the age of asylum applicants, with particular focus on the use of medical age assessments as evidence. 

The essay will begin by examining the way in which the evaluation of proof is carried out within the context of an asylum application in Sweden. Thereafter, follows a presentation and analysis of the relevant rules regarding the benefit of the doubt, consisting of the UNHCR Handbook and the EU Asylum Procedures Directive. Subsequently, the essay will discuss the effect of the ambiguities and margin of error in the currently applied method for medical age assessment, and its impact for the applicant as regards the application of the benefit of the doubt. Finally, an analysis will be made to determine whether the application of the benefit of the doubt in the asylum procedure when determining the age of the applicant can be considered adhering to the principles of legal certainty. The analysis will be based on both a formal and an ethical examination of the benefit of the doubt. 

As concerns the application of the benefit of the doubt when relying on medical age assessments as proof and its consistency with rule of law requirements, several flaws were identified. First, the application of the benefit of the doubt barely takes into consideration the flaws that have been identified in the methods used for age assessment. Moreover, the evaluation of evidence is to a large extent impacted by subjectivity. These factors thus contribute to an unjustified restrictive use of the benefit of the doubt. Furthermore, the limited application of this principle fails to uphold the principle of equality, due to an unproportionate burden of proof on the asylum seeker. It is a fact that a majority of the unaccompanied minors come from countries with unreliable civil registration systems. Consequently, it becomes very difficult for these individuals to provide any written evidence with regard to their age.

The application of the benefit of the doubt also fails to meet the criteria for so-called “material legal certainty”. In order for a rule comply with “material legal certainty” the rule has to take ethical factors into consideration. There is no such consideration when applying the benefit of the doubt. The insufficient application of the benefit of the doubt regarding medical age assessments contributes to an ineffective system of protection for asylum seekers.},
  author       = {Ramsay Aigrot, Astrid},
  keyword      = {Förvaltningsrätt,Migrationsrätt},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Tvivelaktiga metoder för livsavgörande beslut - En studie av tillämpningen av bevislättnadsregeln benefit of the doubt vid användandet av medicinska åldersbedömningar för att fastställa asylsökandes ålder},
  year         = {2019},
}