EJIL: Talk! – Back to Old Tricks? Italian Responsibility for Returning People to Libya

An EJIL: Talk! Blog article by Jean-Pierre Gauci:  “On 10/11 May 2017 various news outlets reported a maritime operation by the Libyan authorities, in coordination with the Italian Search and Rescue Authority, in which 500 individuals were intercepted in international waters and returned to Libya. This operation amounted to refoulment in breach of customary international law and several treaties (including the Geneva Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights), and an internationally wrongful act is one for which Italy bears international legal responsibility…..

….The European Union and its Member States have consistently sought mechanisms to curtail the number potential asylum seekers arriving to Europe’s shores and in doing so have worked closely with third countries. When such actions, reflective as they are of a broader policy, amount to human rights violations and internationally wrongful act, there is scope for responsibility for the EU States involved – in this case Italy. Italy’s action in this case clearly activate its responsibility for the international wrongful act, both directly through the instruction given (with awareness of the consequences), and through its assistance of Libya in the perpetration of the wrongful act.”

Full post here.

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