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Prosecuting EU Officials for Crimes Against Humanity in the Central Mediterranean

International Criminal Court, 2019


On 3 June 2019, international lawyers Adv. Omer Shatz and Adv. Juan Branco submitted a Communication to the International Criminal Court (ICC) that provides evidence which “implicates European Union and Member States’ officials and agents in Crimes Against Humanity, committed as part of a premeditated policy to stem migration flows from Africa via the Central Mediterranean route, from 2014” and calls for the ICC to open an investigation into this matter.


The complaint focuses on three main aspects of the EU migration policies between 2015 and 2019: the transition from Italian rescue operation Mare Nostrum to Frontex Joint Operation Triton; the ousting of NGOs conducting search and rescue (SAR) missions; and the EU’s cooperation with the Libyan Coast Guard; and claims that these policies resulted in:

  • The deaths by drowning of thousands of migrants (more than 20,000 deaths since 2015)

  • The refoulement of tens of thousands of migrants attempting to flee Libya

  • Complicity in the subsequent crimes of deportation, murder, imprisonment, enslavement, torture, rape, persecution and other inhuman acts, taking place in Libyan detention camps and torture houses (more than 100,000 since 2016)


In 2020, the ICC Chief Prosecutor confirmed to the EU Parliament that the case is being processed by the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP). Shortly after that, the Prosecutor confirmed the case has been declared admissible. In 2022, the UN confirmed that EU states are complicit in Crimes Against Humanity committed against ‘migrants’ in Libya. 

 front-LEX collaborates with our partners in order to provide incriminating evidence to the OTP against officials of EU states and agencies implicated with countless Crimes Against Humanity of murder, deportation, enslavement, enforced disappearances, imprisonment, torture, rape and other inhuman acts.  

Adv. Omer Shatz interrogated on the ICC case by the European Parliament
EU Commission's on-camera response to the case
Adv. Omer Shatz testifies on the case at the German Bundestag

09/06/2021 À l’air libre (117) «Le plus grand trafiquant de migrants, c’est l’Union européenne»

Arte Adv. Omer Shatz countering Frontex Director Fabrice Leggeri

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31/07/2019 Le Soir Ces avocats qui veulent poursuivre l’Europe pour crime contre l’humanité

03/06/2019 El País Abogados internacionales piden a La Haya que investigue a la UE por crímenes contra la humanidad por su política migratoria

03/06/2019 Corriere della Sera Nuovo esposto all’Aja contro l’Italia e l’Ue. «I politici responsabili di crimini contro l’umanità»

31/07/2019 Die Zeit "Diese Politik ist ein Verbrechen"

The bigger picture: The Big Wall 

11/10/2019 neues deutschland Strafrechtlich eine einfache Angelegenheit

07/08/2019 De Groene Amsterdammer Noodsignaal op zee

26/07/2019 The Conversation Migration in the Mediterranean: why it’s time to put European leaders on trial

11/07/2019 Público Podemos-IU insta a la Eurocámara a crear un cuerpo civil de rescate en el mar

14/06/2019 EU Observer Meet the lawyer taking the EU migration policy to the ICC 

03/06/2019 AP News Lawyer: EU complicit in crimes against migrants 

03/06/2019 deutsche welle Menschenrechtler verklagen EU wegen Flüchtlingspolitik

03/06/2019 Tagesspiegel Menschenrechtler zeigen EU wegen Flüchtlingskrise an

03/06/2019 HLN Klaagt Internationaal Strafhof EU straks aan voor migratiepolitiek?

03/06/2019 L’express Migrants : deux avocats veulent que l'UE soit poursuivie pour crime contre l'humanité

03/06/2019 Sportello dei diritti Migranti, l’Aja denuncia l’Europa per crimini contro l’umanità

03/06/2019 BBC Türkiye Akdeniz'deki mülteci ölümlerinden sorumlu tutulan AB ve üye ülkeler hakkında suç duyurusu

03/06/2019 Il Messaggerio Migranti, l'Ue denunciata all'Aja per le morti in mare

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