While the so-called preliminary hearings usually take place behind closed doors, our proceedings have a unique characteristic:

Since 3 December 2022, trial observers from renowned human rights organisations have had access to our hearings. They attend every hearing and document the entire course of the proceedings. The group consists of ECCHR, Amnesty InternationalGiuristi Democratici, Swiss Democratic Lawyers, European Democratic Lawyers and the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy & World Human Rights

The trial observers prepare comprehensive reports on each hearing which they publish on ECCHR website a few days after the hearing. This reports can be viewed in its original form on the ECCHR website: Sea rescues: Iuventa

Here we mirror these reports, the content of which is the sole responsibility of the trial observers.

Trial Observers

Monitoring report #26

February 2, 2024

Updates on status of the two witnesses summoned for examination and clarification regarding an incomplete expert assignment and the upcoming hearing schedule.

Monitoring report #25

January 26, 2024

Indexing adjustments ordered for expert reports on evidence received and upcoming examinations and hearing dates clarified.

Monitoring report #24

January 12, 2024

Evidence from Italian MRCC & Coast Guard of vessels’ positions and communications added to the case file and additional hearing dates set.

Monitoring report # 23

December 14, 2023

Hearings postponed – Data on ships’ movement tracking and communications with the IMRCC to be possibly examined in January and two witnesses for the prosecution to be examined in February

Monitoring report # 22

November 24, 2023

Examination of the Captain (employed by shipping company Vroon) of the Vos Prudence, the SAR vessel chartered by Médecins Sans Frontières

Monitoring report # 21

November 3, 2023

Examination of the head of mission of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the team leader of Save the Children (STC)

Monitoring report # 20

October 13, 2023

Two Iuventa defendants deliver oral statements in court (dichiarazioni spontanee), while third is filed in writing

Monitoring report # 19

October 6, 2023

Two expert witnesses examined on the methodology and translation of wiretapped communications and judge announces receiving the Court of Cassation’s legal reasoning on territorial competence (ruling of 6 July 2023)

Monitoring report # 18

September 29, 2023

Judge refuses to suspend proceedings pending the CJEU ruling, while defense requests to hear expert witnesses on the transcription of wiretapped communications and forensic analysis of specific SAR operations

Monitoring report # 17

September 8, 2023

Prosecution responds to defense challenges regarding wiretapping on MSF ship Vos Prudence and judge rules rejecting all defense

Monitoring report # 16

July 14, 2023

The judge reported on Italy’s Court of Cassation ruling on territorial competence and MSF lawyers challenged the usability of evidence obtained via wiretapping

Monitoring report # 15

June 23, 2023

Judge rejects Iuventa’s constitutional complaint and request for ruling from the Court of Justice of the EU regarding translation of “essential documents

Monitoring report # 14

May 26, 2023

Prosecution presents submissions on the constitutional complaint and Iuventa defense lawyers submit requests for a preliminary ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union concerning translation of essential documents

Monitoring report # 13

May 12, 2023

Judge rejects prior claims on inadequate evidence sharing and Iuventa lawyers submit a constitutional complaint challenging the legal basis of the crew’s criminalization for facilitation of irregular entry

Monitoring report # 12

April 14, 2023

Prosecution responds to defense challenges regarding evidence sharing, submits reformulation of charges against the accused and judge confirms plan to improve defendants’ rights to adequate interpretation with equipment

Monitoring report # 11

March 24, 2023

The judge notes UN Special Rapporteurs’ fair trial concerns and addresses territorial competence of the Trapani Court, while defense counsel seeks remedy for the prosecution’s failure to share evidence

Monitoring report # 10

March 15, 2023

Judge upholds Italy’s jurisdiction and refers territorial competence question to the Court of Cassation

Monitoring report # 9

March 1, 2023

Iuventa defendant reads statement on recent Crotone shipwreck and Prosecution presents submissions on the jurisdiction and territorial competence of the Court of Trapani

Monitoring report # 8

February 25, 2023

Judge partially grants the Italian government’s request to become joint plaintiffs and defence lawyers challenge jurisdiction and territorial competence of the Court of Trapani

Monitoring report #7

February 10, 2023

Defense lawyers challenge Italian government’s request to join as plaintiffs and judge rules quality of interpretation during defendant’s police questioning adequate

Monitoring report # 6

January 13, 2023

Hearing postponed – Court-appointed experts need more time to assess quality of interpretation provided to Iuventa defendant

Monitoring report #5

December 19, 2022

Progress made on defendants’ rights to adequate interpretation, while Italian government makes rare request to become joint plaintiffs

Monitoring report #4

December 3, 2022

Hearing postponed – Independent observers access court for first time, but authorities again fail to provide defendants with adequate interpretation

Monitoring report #3

October 29, 2022

Hearing postponed – police failed to question Iuventa defendant

Monitoring report #2

June 15, 2022

Suspension of the proceeding

Monitoring report #1

May 21, 2022

First hearing – Effective notice and access of independent observers

Pre-trial procedures & the group of trial observers

May 20, 2022

READ what the trial observers have to say about their involvement and about the significance and function of the pre-trial phase.