New ICC lawsuit implicates Libya, Italy and Malta in migrant abuse, report

New ICC lawsuit implicates Libya, Italy and Malta in migrant abuse, report

A new lawsuit filed before the International Criminal Court (ICC) would implicates the Libyan authorities in crimes against humanity over systematic abuse of migrants, while also holding italy and Malta accountable as alleged accomplices, Italian newspaper Avvenire reports.

According to Avvenire, the lawsuit was filed by a team of jurists and legal experts who had been examining for years official documents, eyewitness accounts, audio recordings of communications at sea, films, ship maps, medical reports, forensic reports, diplomatic agreements, judicial and journalistic inquiries.

“Between 2017 and 2021, the Italian authorities in fact provided the Libyan Coast guard with crucial support to intercept migrants at sea and bring them back to detention centers,” Avvenire quoted the legal document. 

“Italian and Maltese officials acted in a coordinated manner with the Libyan Coast Guard to ensure that [migrants] were intercepted and returned to Libya”.

The complaint claims “that the support provided by the Italian and Maltese authorities to the Libyan Coast Guard integrates a form of concurrence in the crimes committed against migrants , from which international criminal responsibility under the statute of the Court derives,” Avvenire reports.

The rules that frame the responsibility of the Italian authorities “do not require malice or the intention to commit the crime, pursuant to the statute of the International Criminal Court, but only the awareness of the group’s intention to commit this crime,” reads the legal document obtained by the Italian newspaper.

Avvenire said that some of the signatories of the complaint against Libya, Italy and Malta have been officials in international justice and have helped to identify and convict those responsible for crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Cambodia.

Alessandro Pizzuti, co-founder of UpRights, one of the three organizations signing the complaint, underlines that “the crimes committed against migrants in Libya differ from the atrocities of the past generally faced by the international criminal courts and tribunals. In Libya, the parties to the conflict target migrants because they are perceived as a crucial resource for carrying out their political and military objectives”.