The European Court has Ordered Italy to Pay Compensation to Deported African Migrants captured in Lampedusa.
(Strasbourg, February 23 – The European Court of Human Rights has condemned Italy for violating the rights of illegal migrants as part of the country’s Gaddafi-era policy of repatriating them back to Libya.
In a mandatory verdict, the Strasbourg court found Italy guilty of demeaning conduct, disrespecting due process and endangering the lives of immigrants by extraditing 24 Somali and Eritrean nationals to Libya on May 6, 2009.
The ruling in the case of Hirsi Jamaa and Others v. Italy ordered Italy to pay compensations of 15,000 euros as well as overhead cost for each of the 22 deportees represented. There were 24 victims involved in this case but two of them have died.
The represented plaintiffs were amongst the 200 African immigrants that were captured by the Italian authorities off the Sicilian island of Lampedusa and consequently deported against their will. The immigrants were deported without neither first being identified, questioned nor given the opportunity to apply for asylum. This, according to the court ruling, broke Article Three of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Another ruling from the court is that, Italy violated a sanction on collective expulsion and went beyond the effective rights of the defendant to seek recourse in Italian courts.
Out of the 200 immigrants that were originally deported, only about 24 of them were able to be tracked down by prosecutors.
In 2008, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi signed a treaty with the Italian government in which he made a pledge to help deport illegal immigrants held in international waters.
Italy suspended the agreement in February 2011 due to the turbulence that was taking place in Libya.
In 2011, about 50,000 illegal immigrants arrived in Lampedusa after the Tunisian revolution and the Libyan war, forcing reception facilities to a breaking point.