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Taking Frontex’s New Director Aija Kalnaja to Court over Greece

Court of Justice of the European Union, September 2022

Ajna Kalnaja Ylva Johansson.jpg

Every day, hundreds of people trying to enter the EU to ask for asylum are being kidnapped and violently transferred back from Greece to Turkey. At least 43,000 people have been assaulted like that since January 2020. These illegal pushbacks in the Aegean Sea are jointly conducted by the Hellenic Coast Guard and Frontex.

This practice must stop - which is why front-LEX is taking Frontex interim Director Aija Kalnaja to court. We filed the case on behalf of Jeancy K., a Congolese refugee who entered Greece to seek asylum but instead was violently abducted, forcibly transferred to a ‘death raft’, collectively expelled and abandoned in distress at sea. Jeancy was a victim of multiple such attempted murders, lastly on 14 July 2022. During one of them he had to watch his friend drown to death, with European officers watching, laughing, doing nothing to save him, and not even recovering his body.

Based on the OLAF report and numerous other evidentiary sources, front-LEX is asking the Court to rule that Kalnaja failed to trigger Article 46 of the Frontex Regulation for its operation in the Aegean Sea, according to which the Director must “suspend or terminate any activity by the Agency… if he or she considers that there are violations of fundamental rights or international protection obligations related to the activity concerned that are of a serious nature or are likely to persist”. If successful, Frontex will have to pull out of the Aegean Sea for good.

We need your help! This case is financed by a crowdfunding campaign. We need €50,000 to continue representing pushback victims and litigate their cases before European and EU Courts in the coming months. Support us now - together we can end the EU’s deadly migration policy.


28 November 2023 - CJEU Ruling - 2nd Legal Avenue Closed! 

*** The Court declared the Application Inadmissible, Ordered the Applicant to Carry the Legal Costs of Frontex & Closed the 2nd legal Avenue Available to Hold Frontex to Account (Art. 263 TFEU). ***

The General Court ruled that front-LEX’s 2nd case against Frontex’s Joint Operation in the Aegean is inadmissible, ordering the Applicant to carry the legal costs of Frontex. By doing so the CJEU blocked the second out of only three legal procedures open to refugees seeking to challenge the violence they are exposed to because of Frontex’s criminal border policies. 

This case is the follow-up to SS and ST v. Frontex, the 1st ever case brought against the Agency by front-LEX. SS and ST closed the first procedure that is formally open to asylees seeking to access justice (Art. 265 TFEU), but opened the way for using the second procedure (Art. 263 TFEU). The very same judge that rendered this first ruling, however, now decided once again not to let refugees access judicial review, protection and remedy under the EU’s legal order. 


Notwithstanding this judgement, front-LEX continues its strategic litigation campaign with the aim of, finally, holding Frontex to account and re-establishing the rule of law at the EU’s external border.

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