Prosecute top EU officials
Top European Union and member states' officials should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity over the drownings of thousands of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea, international lawyers said yesterday.
The Paris-based lawyers presented the International Criminal Court with a detailed 245-page file which they said was handed to chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda's office.
The information provides "enough evidence implicating the EU and member states officials and agents with crimes against humanity committed in pursuant to EU migration policies in the Mediterranean and Libya" since 2014, they said.
More than 12,000 people have died since 2014 trying flee Libya to Europe by what the UN refugee agency calls the "world's deadliest sea crossing".
The lawyers alleged that in order to keep Europe's borders safe, the EU resorted to a "deterrence-based migration policy, intended to sacrifice the lives of migrants in distress at sea".
The sole objective was to "dissuade others in similar situation from seeking safe haven in Europe," they said in their filing, of which a copy was handed to AFP.
When the policy failed because of rescue work by NGOs, the EU adopted a second strategy by employing the Libyan Coast Guard to intercept and send migrants back to concentration-camp like facilities in Libya.
"It was perfectly clear that they were people accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity and they (the EU) voluntarily funded these individuals," lawyer Juan Branco told AFP.