[TRANSLATION]

THE FACTS

The applicant [Mr Ahcène Benrachid] is an Algerian national, born in Constantine (Algeria) in 1963. He lives in Constantine. He was represented before the Court by Mr J.-L. Cacheux, of the Lyons Bar.

The facts, as submitted by the applicant, may be summarised as follows.

The applicant came to France with his family in 1970, when he was 7 years old. He lived in France continuously until he was deported to Algeria in 1993.

In a judgment of 9 November 1989 the Assize Court for the Rhône département convicted the applicant of a number of offences of armed robbery, and of hostage-taking. It sentenced him to seven years’ imprisonment.

Following that conviction, the Minister of the Interior made an order for his deportation on 19 March 1993 under section 26 of the Aliens (Conditions of Entry and Residence) Ordinance of 2 November 1945, as amended.

On 16 August 1993 the applicant, relying, inter alia, on Article 8 of the Convention, applied to the Lyons Administrative Court to quash the deportation order. His application was dismissed on 14 June 1994.

The applicant appealed to the Conseil d’Etat. In a judgment of 30 July 1997 the Conseil d’Etat upheld the Administrative Court’s judgment. In respect of the applicant’s allegation that there had been a violation of Article 8 of the Convention, the Conseil d’Etat ruled as follows:

“Despite the applicant’s claim that the order in question interfered with his private and family life, the documents in the case file show that Mr Benrachid, aged 30 on the date of the order in question, unmarried and with no dependants, was not entirely without links with his country of origin, that country being, moreover, the one in which he had chosen to perform his military service; under the circumstances, and having regard to the seriousness of the offences committed by the appellant, the measure in question did not exceed what was necessary to preserve public order and did not breach the provisions of Article 8 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;”

COMPLAINT

The applicant submitted that he had arrived in France at the age of 7 and that his parents and all his siblings, some of whom have French nationality, also lived in France. He pointed out that this was his first conviction and that he has had a clean record for a number of years. He considered that the order for his deportation had violated his right to respect for his private and family life as guaranteed by Article 8 of the Convention.

THE LAW

The applicant submitted that he had lived in France since the age of 7 and that his parents and siblings lived there. He complained that the order for his deportation had interfered with his right to respect for his private and family life as guaranteed by Article 8 of the Convention, which reads as follows:

“1.  Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

2.  There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”

The Court points out first of all that, according to its settled case-law, the Contracting States have a right, as a matter of well-established international law and subject to their treaty obligations, to control the entry, residence and expulsion of aliens (see, for example, the following judgments: Moustaquim v. Belgium, 18 February 1991, Series A no. 193, p. 19, § 43; Beldjoudi v. France, 26 March 1992, Series A no. 234-A, p. 27, § 74; Boughanemi v. France, 24 April 1996, Reports of Judgments and Decisions 1996-II, pp. 609-10, § 41; Mehemi v. France, 26 September 1997, Reports 1997-VI, p. 1971, § 34; and El Boujaïdi v. France, 26 September 1997, Reports 1997-VI, p. 1992, § 39).

However, their decisions in this area may in some cases infringe the right protected by Article 8 § 1 of the Convention.

The Court notes that the applicant came to France when he was 7 years old and that his parents and siblings live there. It considers that, having regard to the applicant’s personal and family ties in France, the order for his deportation amounted to interference with his right to respect for his private and family life (see the El Boujaïdi judgment cited above, pp. 1990-11, § 33).

The Court observes that the order for the applicant’s deportation was, in the instant case, in accordance with the law and designed to prevent disorder and crime, which is a legitimate aim for the purposes of paragraph 2 of Article 8 of the Convention.

As regards the necessity of the interference for the protection of the legitimate interests provided for in paragraph 2 of Article 8 of the Convention, the Court observes that the applicant chose to carry out his military service in Algeria. It can therefore be presumed that he knows his country of origin well and has a command of its language.

An essential criterion in assessing the proportionality of the deportation order is the seriousness of the offences committed by the applicant, to which the seven-year term of imprisonment to which he was sentenced by the Assize Court for the Rhône département testifies. That court convicted him of a number of armed robberies, the last of which had involved taking a person hostage in order to facilitate the commission of the robbery.

Having regard to the above considerations and, in particular, to the nature and seriousness of the offences committed by the applicant and to the fact that he cannot be considered to be entirely without links with his country of origin, the Court considers that any interference with his private and family life as a result of the deportation order can reasonably be considered necessary in a democratic society for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the purposes of Article 8 § 2 of the Convention (see the following judgments: Boughanemi, cited above, p. 610, §§ 44 and 45; C. v. Belgium, 7 August 1996, Reports 1996-III, pp. 928-29, §§ 35 and 36; and El Boujaïdi, cited above, pp. 1992-93, §§ 41 and 42).

It follows that the application must be rejected as manifestly ill-founded, in accordance with Article 35 § 3 of the Convention.

For these reasons, the Court unanimously

Declares the application inadmissible.

BENRACHID v. FRANCE DECISION