Tag Archives: Guardia di Finanza

PACE Report on “Lives Lost in the Mediterranean Sea: Who is Responsible?” Scheduled for Release on 29 March

The draft report prepared by Tineke Strik (Netherlands, SOC), “Lives lost in the Mediterranean Sea: who is responsible?”, will be considered on 29 March in a closed session by the PACE Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons.

If the draft report receives committee approval it will be released to the public by Ms. Strik at a press conference scheduled for 2 p.m. CET.  Representatives from HRW and FIDH will participate in the press conference.  (Click here for HRW press release.) The report will be next be considered during “plenary debate by the 318-member Parliamentary Assembly, probably on Tuesday 24 April during its spring session in Strasbourg.”

Full text of PACE press release:  “Strasbourg, 26.03.2012 – Tineke Strik (Netherlands, SOC), rapporteur for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on ‘Lives lost in the Mediterranean Sea: who is responsible?’ will present her draft report at a press conference in Brussels on Thursday 29th March 2012.

The report is the result of a nine-month inquiry, launched at the request of 34 Assembly members, following a March 2011 incident in which it is alleged that 63 people attempting to flee the conflict in Libya died at sea after their appeals for rescue were ignored, including by armed forces operating in the area.

Ahead of her presentation, Ms Strik commented: ‘Since the beginning of 2011 at least 1,500 people are known to have perished in the Mediterranean trying to reach European soil – despite this being one of the busiest and best-monitored seas in the world. My inquiry has focused on one particularly tragic incident, in which 63 people died, to try to establish who bears responsibility for their deaths. I have been deeply shocked by what I have learned.’

As part of her inquiry, Tineke Strik spoke at length with survivors, search and rescue authorities from Italy and Malta, as well as NATO and EU officials, and put detailed written questions to a number of governments, including those with vessels with aircraft-carrying facilities in the area at the time. She also obtained a reconstruction of the voyage using the science of forensic oceanography.

The same day, prior to the press conference, Ms Strik will present her report to PACE’s Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, meeting in closed session. If approved by the committee, the report will go forward for plenary debate by the 318-member Parliamentary Assembly, probably on Tuesday 24 April during its spring session in Strasbourg.

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Notes for editors

Press conference

The press conference will take place at 2 p.m. on Thursday 29th March at the Council of Europe office in Brussels (Avenue des Nerviens 85 / Nerviërslaan 85, B-1040 Brussels). The rapporteur will be joined by representatives of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Human Rights Watch. A video recording of the press conference will be made available at the link above, and on the PACE website, as soon as possible after it ends.

Copies of the report

If approved by the committee, the full text of the report will be posted on the Assembly’s website at around 2 p.m. Central European Time.


Angus Macdonald, PACE Communication Division, mobile +33 (0)6 30 49 68 20.
Andrew Cutting, Council of Europe Office in Brussels, mobile +32 (0)485 21 72 02.

Motion: the request for an inquiry

PACE President’s statement, May 2011

Web file and timeline: Europe’s boat people

Video recording of press conference (when available)

Click here for PACE Press Release of 26 March.

Click here for Committee meeting agenda.

Click here for HRW Press Release of 26 March.

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Filed under Council of Europe, European Union, Frontex, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mediterranean, News, Reports, Tunisia

Italian Prosecutor Brings Charges Against Heads of Immigration Directorate and Guardia di Finanza in Connection with Push-Back Operation to Libya

The Syracuse Prosecutor’s Office (La Procura della Repubblica di Siracusa) has brought criminal charges against Rodolfo Ronconi, the head of the Italian Immigration Directorate and Border Police (la direzione centrale dell’immigrazione e la polizia delle Frontiere) and Vincenzo Carrarini, the head of the Finance Police (Guardia di Finanza) in connection with the forcible return of 75 migrants who were intercepted at sea in international waters by a Guardia di Finanza ship in August 2009 and returned to Libya pursuant to the Italy-Libya migration agreement.

Charges were not brought against individual Guardia di Finanza military personnel who carried out the interception and push-back of the migrants on the grounds that they were acting under orders from superiors and that those orders were not manifestly illegal (per ordini superiori non manifestamente illegittimi).

The charges allege that the two officials were complicit in private violence (concorso in violenza private).  According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the charges are not based on the act of refoulement, but rather are based on the failure to apply Italian law.  After being intercepted, the 75 migrants were brought aboard the Guardia di Finanza ship which then transported them to Libya.  According to the Prosecutor, Italian laws applied once the migrants were taken onto the Guardia di Finanza ship because the ship is the equivalent of Italian territory.  The charges are based on allegations that the migrants were taken to Libya against their will and were denied access to procedures for the protection of refugees and prevented from exercising other rights available to them under domestic law and international law incorporate within domestic law.

At least nine similar interdiction operations were conducted by Italy in 2009 in the Channel of Sicily which resulted in the forcible return of at least 834 migrants to Libya.  The first such interdiction operation in May 2009 is at issue in the case of of Hirsi and others v Italy, Requête no 27765/09 now pending before the European Court of Human Rights.

The other interdiction operations consist of the following:

  • 7 May – About 230 migrants intercepted in three boats in the Strait of Sicily and returned to Libya.
  • 8 May – A boat with about 80 people in difficulty off the coast of Libya was towed to Tripoli.
  • 10 May – A naval patrol returned more than 200 people to Libya who were intercepted in the Channel of Sicily.
  • 19 June – A boat with 76 migrants near Lampedusa, intercepted by a Coast Guard patrol, and the immigrants, including women and children, were then transferred to a Libyan patrol boat and returned to Tripoli.
  • 1 July – 89 migrants (including 9 women and 3 children) located on a raft about 30 miles from Lampedusa were taken on board a Navy ship and transferred to an Agip oil platform off the coast of Libya. From there a Libyan patrol boat took them to Tripoli.
  • 5 July – About 40 migrants rescued near Lampedusa by a patrol boat of the Guardia di Finanza.  Many of whom were later reported to be in Tripoli.
  • 29 July – A boat with 14 people was rescued by a patrol boat of the Guardia di Finanza. Passengers were taken to Tripoli.
  • 30 August – A boat with 75 migrants on board (among them 15 women and 3 children) was intercepted south of Capo Passero. Passengers were transferred to a patrol boat of the Guardia di Finanza and returned to Libya.

Click here (IT) and here (IT) for articles.

Click here for previous post on Hirsi and others v Italy.

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Filed under Data / Stats, Italy, Judicial, Libya, Mediterranean, News