ICJ and others intervene in Mediterranean Sea search and rescue case before European Court – video interview

Today, the ICJ, the AIRE Centre, ECRE and DCR have submitted a third party intervention before the European Court of Human Rights in the case of a 2017 rescue operation of migrants, including refugees, in the Mediterranean Sea that involved the SeaWatch rescue vessel.

The case, S.S. and Others v. Italy, concerns the facts occurred during a rescue operation coordinated by the Maritime Research and Rescue Centre of Italy in Rome in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.

It is currently litigated before the European Court of Human Rights where the victims of human rights violations at the hand of the Libya Coast Guard during the operation are suing Italy for breach of their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

During the operation, the involved the rescue boat SeaWatch, a French navy vessel  and a Libyan Coast-Guard boat. It is reported certain migrants were taken and ill-treated by the Libyan Coast Guard and sent back to Libya.

It is also alleged that actions undertaken by the Lybian Coast Guard boat during the rescue operation caused the death of several persons to be rescued, including children.

The ones rescued by the SeaWatch vessel could join safety on Italian shores.

The interveners have submitted that, in accordance to the Court’s jurisprudence under the European Convention on Human Rights, other sources of international human rights law and international maritime law standards, Italy had jurisdiction for the purpose of the Convention and had, therefore, to ensure that persons involved in the rescue operation would not be exposed to serious violations of their human rights.

ECtHR-SS_v_Italy_final-JointTPI-ICJECREAIREDCR-English-2019 (download the joint third party intervention)


Watch our interview with ICJ Senior Legal Adviser Massimo Frigo as he further defines S.S. and Others v. Italy and what ICJ intends to do.

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