Published by Iuventa-crew | 24 / Jun / 2023

Court of Trapani: border protection prevails over human rights

Communiqué by Iuventa Crew on the hearing of 23 June 2023 at the Court of Trapani

24.06.23, Trapani.

In yesterday's hearing of the trial against iuventa-crew and others, the court of Trapani rejected the two requests previously submitted by the defence of iuventa-crew. Thus, the court blocked the possibility of bringing before the competent higher courts the serious contradictions between the protection of fundamental rights and Italian legislation, as well as European directives.

A first decision was made on the petition for referral to the Constitutional Court, which highlighted serious violations of rights guaranteed by the Italian Constitution and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, imposed by § 12 of the Italian immigration law and the EU 'Facilitators' package'. Although the judge declared the petition 'unfounded', his decision did not address the arguments presented, which remained largely unheard.

"Today in court, border protection prevailed over the protection of fundamental rights. We wanted the higher courts to rule once and for all on the balance between border protection and the protection of human beings, but the judge denied iuventa and all of us this possibility. The decision is unsatisfactory as much for the outcome as for the arguments that support it, but we will certainly not stop here, the challenge to the European and Italian rules on aiding and abetting irregular immigration will continue in the courtrooms'.
Francesca Cancellaro, lawyer from Iuventa

Moreover, the judge found some of the arguments to be "irrelevant" to the iuventa trial. By basing his decision on factual elements brought forward in the charges against the defendants, anticipating evaluations and decisions that are still pending, the judge thus misunderstood his role in the constitutional legitimacy judgment.

"The judge's decision to reject the application for constitutional review is a missed opportunity for an urgently needed revision of the crime of aiding and abetting irregular entry. In Italy and the EU, the use of these legislative frameworks continues to legitimise the criminalisation of humanitarian assistance and solidarity."
Allison West, Senior Legal Advisor at ECCHR
"With so many people at such a desperate level that they risk their lives to access protection and safety in Europe, there is an urgent need for reform of the crime of 'aiding and abetting irregular migration', but also for an immediate end to its harmful and unfair application against people who save lives. Today's decision is disappointing, but it is not final. We will continue to support the Iuventa crew and their lawyers to achieve systemic change to protect acts of solidarity'.
Elisa De Pieri, researcher at Amnesty International's European regional office

The second decision of the hearing concerned the non-translation of almost all investigative documents. The judge stuck to previous case law and stated that in his opinion "everything is correct". Once again he barred the way to the European Court of Justice, which would be the competent court to assess a violation of the EU right to a fair trial by Italian courts.

"It is not surprising that the court missed another opportunity to uphold fundamental rights: moreover, in denying the translation of 95 per cent of the investigation documents, the court did not take the defendants' views into account when assessing which documents should be translated. But we will go on despite the obstacles'.
Nicola Canestrini, iuventa lawyer

Next hearing - 14.07.23 - TRAPANI

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