Wrist bones examinations are unsuitable for age assessment

The Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic upheld the complaint of an Iraqi minor who was unlawfully detained in the immigration centre for three months following a wrong determination of his age by the Czech authorities. In its judgment of 30 July 2021, the Czech Constitutional Court found that the rights of the minor to personal liberty and fair trial have been violated.

According to the judgment, the police used inappropriate method to assess his age because the so called “bone tests” are inaccurate. A violation of the right to liberty was a direct result of the wrong age assessment. It was the first time the Constitutional Court commented on the issue of age assessment. The decision can be a precedent for similar cases in the future.

The Constitutional Court also found problematic that there was no social worker or guardian, and neither the translator during the medical examination. Moreover, the boy has never learned the results of the examination and he had to possibility to contest them. He was dealt with like he was an object, not a holder of the rights. Apart from the inappropriate methods used for the age assessment, the Constitutional Court also criticised the absence of a translator during the subsequent court proceedings and also not taking into account the evidence of personal documents.

The applicant was supported by the Organization for Aid to Refugees and Forum for Human Rights with the help of the Legal Office of JUDr. Maroš Matiaško.

The Constitutional Court decision can be found here (in Czech).