Court denies Italian Prime Minister’s office access to the courtroom

February 25, 2023

25.02.2023, Trapani. Today’s preliminary hearing in the trial against the iuventa crew and another 17 defendants for “aiding and abetting unauthorized immigration” was the sixth of its kind.

Following the long and controversial discussion at the last hearing on the question of the Italian government’s application to join the trial, as they claim to be an “crime victim”, this time there was a decision.

The court rejected the request of the Prime Minister’s Office, blocking Meloni’s efforts to participate in the trial. In turn, a different decision was made for the Ministry of the Interior. The latter was formally admitted as a third party, but still without addressing the substance of its claims. The court thus merely recognised an abstract entitlement of the Ministry of Interior to constitute itself as a civil plaintiff, without any establishment of its role in relation to the facts in dispute, let alone the causation of any harm.

Amnesty International, part of the independent trial observation group, “considers that the Ministry of the Interior’s decision to request the admission as civil plaintiff is intimidating for human rights defenders“.

Furthermore, there were other motions by the defence challenging the construction of the whole trial and specifically the jurisdiction of the court in Trapani.

Francesca Cancellaro, defense lawyer: the Italian jurisdiction over the conduct of the crew of the Iuventa cannot be based on the principles established to date and this is also due to the fact that the entry of the shipwrecked persons can never be said to be irregular, since the latter have the right to disembark in a safe port and apply for international protection

Dariush Beigui, iuventa: “As the iuventa trial is dragged on without any certainty that it will ever pass the preliminary phase, people are drowning. Instead of stopping the dying, the ships are detained, leading to even more deaths. This is the daily European nightmare