Italian court confirms suspension of detention of Humanity 1

Such- und Rettungsschiff Humanity 1 in einem italienischen Hafen mit dramatischen Wolken.
Alessio Cassaro / SOS Humanity

On 19 April 2024, the civil court in Crotone, Calabria (Italy), ruled that the early release of the non-governmental rescue ship Humanity 1, unlawfully detained on 4 March, was required. The lift of the detention is herewith legally binding.

"We very much welcome the fact that the civil court in Crotone has confirmed the fast-track decision to lift the detention of the Humanity 1 in March 2024. The judge has thus confirmed that the rescue ship Humanity 1 saved lives in accordance with applicable law. The facts presented by us convinced the court that the so-called Libyan Coast Guard, which was armed and fired a shot, endangered lives. It is an important judgement that the court did not classify the activities of the Libyan Rescue Coordination Centre and the so-called Libyan Coast Guard as search and rescue operations, but as illegal pull-backs to a country which is not a place of safety. For years, we have been bearing witness to precisely these breaches of the law in the Mediterranean, which have now also been recognised as such by the civil court in Crotone."

The ship of the search and rescue organisation SOS Humanity, whose crew has rescued a total of 2,223 people fleeing across the Mediterranean since it started operation in August 2022, was detained for 20 days in Crotone, Calabria, after disembarking 77 survivors on 4 March. The reason given: The crew had allegedly ignored instructions of the Libyan authorities and was accused of consequently jeopardising human lives. The search and rescue organisation took legal action against the inaccurate accusations in fast-track proceedings. 

On 18 March 2024, the judge in charge at the civil court in Crotone (Calabria, Italy) then ruled in favour of SOS Humanity’s fast-track proceedings: The detention of the rescue ship Humanity 1 on 4 March 2024 was not lawful according to his preliminary assessment, and the ship was immediately released to be able to resume its rescue missions. A hearing was scheduled for 17 April. Today, the judge confirmed the fast-track measure of lifting the detention. The next hearing will take place in June 2024. 

Here you can read the the court’s decision (Italian) and the english translation.

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