Judge to announce decision in IUVENTA case on 19 April

March 2, 2024

Today marked the final day of the preliminary hearing against the iuventa-crew. Following the prosecution’s unexpected request to drop the charges, the defense delivered a powerful closing argument, demanding not only the dismissal of the case but also the full recognition of the legality of all actions. Moreover, they called for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the case to establish accountability for the erroneous investigation and its serious implications. The judge announced that he would deliver his decision on 19 April 2024.

The four final days of the preliminary hearing in the Iuventa case began on Wednesday with an unexpected turn. During the presentation of the final arguments, the prosecution, who was the first to speak, surprisingly requested for the charges to be dropped (for more information, please refer to Wednesday’s press release here), despite having pursued the case for almost 7 years. They did not argue that no crimes were committed, however, but that the defendants’ intent could not be sufficiently proven.

The defense team of the iuventa-crew continued their closing arguments on Thursday and Friday, vehemently disagreeing with this rationale. Over the course of several hours, they systematically refuted and dismantled all alleged evidence pertaining to the incidents in question. Moreover, they emphasized that beyond the factual reconstruction of the specific incidents, the entry of rescued individuals into Italy should be considered lawful under any circumstance. They argued that all actions taken by the iuventa-crew were lawful and well within their rights –grounded in both international and national legal principles such as the notion of distress and the duty to rescue, as well as the fundamental rights of the accused.

  They also highlighted that since the seizure of the IUVENTA and throughout the ongoing trial, many pertinent facts have been established by other courts. For example, the recent ruling by the court of cassation reiterating that Libya is not a safe port directly applies to the IUVENTA case.

 Additionally, they reiterated that the trial was political, as can be seen from the material collected from the early stages of the investigation. Despite the lack of evidence indicating wrongdoing, authorities persisted in their pursuit. The Ministry of Interior even enlisted the special branch of the police to take over the investigation, indicating a strong political influence.
 The defence lawyers demanded that the court not simply dismiss the case due to an alleged lack of evidence on the intent of the accused but instead grant full recognition that the actions of the iuventa-crew were not only lawful but also in line with their fundamental rights.

Furthermore, the iuventa-crew’s defense joined a motion requesting the court to compel the prosecution to investigate the misleading nature of the allegations made against the iuventa-crew.

During today’s hearing, the judge postponed the decision and scheduled the hearing for

19th of April for this.