Following a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), the controversial British deportation flights to Rwanda for asylum seekers may not take place.

The court ordered on Tuesday evening that one of those affected should not initially be flown out. Rather, a period of three weeks must first elapse after the conclusion of the legal process in Great Britain.

Hours earlier, the Supreme Court, the last British instance, had given the green light for the internationally controversial project. It was initially unclear whether the first flight planned for the evening would still take place.

The ECtHR is part of the Council of Europe, not the European Union, and is therefore also responsible for Great Britain. The number of asylum seekers scheduled for the first flight recently fell from 37 originally to seven.

The court’s order covered one of the survivors, an Iraqi. “That allows the other six to raise similar objections,” Clare Moseley of the Care4Calais foundation told Reuters. “We are so relieved.” British government officials said the verdict would be reviewed.

The government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to take action against smuggling gangs and make unwanted entry via the English Channel unattractive. According to Johnson’s plans, Rwanda will initially receive 120 million pounds (about 144 million euros) for the cooperation.

Last year, more than 28,000 migrants and refugees crossed the Channel to Britain. Political opponents, charities and high-ranking clergy have expressed their dismay at the project. The UN refugee chief recently criticized the plan sharply. (Reuters)