European Court rules no jail for illegal migrants in Schengen zone
June 7, Berlin: The European Court of Justice said non-EU migrants illegally entering an EU state in the Schengen zone should not face detention on those grounds.
The Court also said migrants staying illegally should instead be returned to the country from which they came under the so-called Return Directive.
The ruling applies to migrants crossing borders within the passport-free area and on leaving the zone. It will infuriate critics of EU policy, but contains several important caveats, reports said.
The ruling was triggered by the case of a Ghanaian migrant who was found to be using false Belgian travel documents by French police at the entrance to the Channel Tunnel.
Selina Affum was placed in police custody on grounds of illegal entry into French territory but argued that this was unlawful, in light of the EU's Return Directive.
Under the directive, an illegal migrant told to leave has up to 30 days to go voluntarily. After that, removal should not involve excessive force or place the person's life in danger.
The French court of cassation referred Ms Affum's case to the European Court of Justice, the EU's highest court.
This was also the case when the migrant "is intercepted when leaving the Schengen area".
The Oslo Times