Tue, Jun 04, 2019 - Page 6 News List

Lawyers seek ICC probe into EU migration policy

CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY?A brief argues that EU officials are responsible for deaths of thousands of migrants and the rape and torture of others in Libya

AP, PARIS

“Yes, there’s no more migration, but where are all those young people that they picked up? They’re in the prisons. They’re in Libya and in prisons, and they’re being tortured over there. If they aren’t allowed in Europe, then let them go back to their countries quickly and under good conditions,’’ said Kaba, who has received asylum in France. “There are no more entrances or exits.”

The EU has repeatedly acknowledged that the treatment of migrants in Libya is of great concern, although it has declined to waiver in its support for the Libyan coast guard.

Libya’s role in the migrant crisis is already on the radar of ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.

In a statement to the UN Security Council in May 2017, she said that her investigators were collecting and analyzing “information relating to serious and widespread crimes allegedly committed against migrants attempting to transit through Libya.”

“I am deeply alarmed by reports that thousands of vulnerable migrants, including women and children, are being held in detention centers across Libya in often inhumane conditions. Crimes, including killings, rapes and torture, are alleged to be commonplace,” she said.

The court receives many similar requests every year for formal investigations into war crimes and crimes against humanity, and it is up to the prosecutor to decide whether to investigate and ultimately bring a case.

“The more detailed the communication, the more likely the prosecutor will take it seriously,” said Dov Jacobs, a defense lawyer at the ICC who is not connected to the 243-page request.

Branco said he believed the details in the report would leave the court little choice.

“[European officials)] pretended that this was a tragedy that nothing could be done against it that they had no role in it,” he said.

“And we demonstrate very carefully that, on the contrary, they triggered this so-called tragedy,” he added.

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