The Italian Interior Ministry and the Direzione Centrale dell’Immigrazione e della Polizia delle Frontiere are conducting a three day conference, beginning today, in Napoli, 7-9 February. In attendance will be top police officials from 45 African countries, 25 EU countries as well as officials from agencies including Interpol, Europol, Frontex and, as observers, representatives of the US FBI and Dept. of Homeland Security. Among those scheduled to attend are Rodolfo Ronconi, Direttore Centrale dell’Immigrazione e della Polizia delle Frontiere, Interior Minister Roberto Maroni, INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald Noble, EUROPOL Director Rob Wainwright, and Frontex Director Ilkka Laitinen.
According to a draft agenda for the conference, discussion topics will include:
- Immigration Group – The African continent as a source and place of transit for migratory flows towards Europe across the Mediterranean Sea. Internal migration within African. Threat assessment, ongoing bilateral initiatives, multilateral initiatives, and methods of law enforcement;
- Group on human trafficking and organized crime – Criminal networks involved in smuggling: prevention and law enforcement investigative techniques, with particular reference to flows from Greece and Central Africa to Europe;
- Drug Trafficking Group – African continent: new narcotrafficking directed towards Europe;
- Group on Terrorism – Cyberspace as a new platform for radicalization: comparing experiences.
- Gruppo Immigrazione – Il Continente africano quale origine e transito dei flussi migratory diretti in Europa attraverso il Mar Mediterraneo. I fenomeni migratori interni al Continente africano. Valutazione della minaccia, iniziative bilaterali, multilaterali e metodologie di contrasto;
- Gruppo Tratta degli esseri umani e criminalità organizzata sul tema “Le reti criminali coinvolte nel traffico di migranti: tecniche di investigazione preventiva e repressiva, con particolare riferimento ai flussi provenienti dalla Grecia e dal Centro Africa verso l’Europa”;
- Gruppo Traffico di Stupefacenti sul tema “Il Continente africano: nuovo crocevia del narcotraffico diretto verso l’Europa?”;
- Gruppo Terrorismo sul tema “Il Cyberspazio quale nuova piattaforma per la radicalizzazione: esperienze a confronto”;
Click here (IT) for short article.
Click here (IT) for draft agenda.
I would love to know more about the substance of the conference – if anyone has any information or documents to share, please do so. ( firstname.lastname@example.org ).
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.