The authorities argued that there is no armed conflict in Guinea. Mr. Diakite, however, highlighted that he participated in anti-governments movements there and claimed that his return to the country would result in repression and violence towards him.
The complainant alleged that the Belgian authorities handling his case wrongly used the definition of "armed conflict" derived from international humanitarian law. The complainant considered that in the case of the EU Directive, the term should have an autonomous character and be defined independently. The Court of Justice of the European Union agreed with him. In the opinion of the CJEU, the Union legislature's intention was to grant subsidiary protection not only in the case of international or non-international armed conflicts, as defined in humanitarian law, but also in the case of internal armed conflict, assuming that these conflicts are characterized by so-called “indiscriminate violence." In the opinion of the CJEU, humanitarian law and the system of subsidiary protection provided by the Directive pursue different objectives and bring clearly distinct mechanisms of protection. While the purpose of humanitarian law is primarily to ensure the protection of civilians in conflict zones by reducing the negative effects of the war, the EU law focuses on granting international protection of civilians outside a particular conflict zone. The concept of armed conflict in international humanitarian law is also closely related to criminal sanctions. Such a relationship does not occur in the case of the EU Directive. Due to the different nature of the EU Directive on international protection and international humanitarian law, the term “armed conflict” in EU law should be understood in accordance with its usual meaning in everyday language. With an “armed conflict," therefore, we consider situations where there are clashes between the security forces of the state and one or more armed groups, or where clashes between two or more armed groups occur. Subsidiary protection should be granted when clashes pose a serious and individual threat to the life or physical integrity of the applicant.
The more the applicant is able to show that he is specifically affected, the lower the level of indiscriminate violence required for him to be eligible for subsidiary protection.
(Case: C‑285/12, Aboubacar Diakité v Commissaire général aux réfugiés et aux apatrides)