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Italy: ECtHR condemns sending migrants back to Libya

last updated Feb 24, 2012

On Thursday 24 February, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled in favor of 24 Somali and Eritrean migrants, who had been intercepted at sea and sent back to Libya by Italy in 2009. The court said that this exposed them to a risk of ill-treatment or even torture and amounted to a collective expulsion, violating articles 3 and 13 as well as article 4 of Protocol No. 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

The Italian authorities stated, they acted in accordance with the bilateral agreements with the former regime in Libya, that had come into force on 4 February 2009 and which was suspended on 26 February 2011, to fight illegal immigration. According to BBC, the migrants said that their identities have not been checked nor were they told where they are going. The judgment, which was welcomed by UNHCR, is final and sentenced Italy to pay 15.000 compensation to each applicant.

European Court of Human Rights: Press Release

BBC: European Court censures Italy over African migrants

The Guardian: Italy violated human rights by returning migrants to Libya, court rules