The central Mediterranean route is one of the deadliest migration routes in the world. Since 2014, more than 25,000 people have died or gone missing there. Others are intercepted, illegally returned to Libya and systematically detained. These are cruel acts. They are political crimes and not, as is often claimed, the consequences of a humanitarian catastrophe. They are crimes against humanity.

These crimes do not happen anonymously – they are planned at desks of people in European Union agencies. People with names and titles, responsibilities and powers. What is clear: No crime without criminals.

On November 29, 2022, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), based on evidence from Sea-Watch and other civil society organizations, filed a criminal complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) under Article 15 of the Rome Statute.

There is evidence and information pointing to the alleged criminal responsibility of high-ranking officials of EU Member States and EU authorities. The accusation: serious deprivation of physical liberty of refugees as a crime against humanity. And with a plan. They work closely with Libyan actors, intercept refugees at sea and bring them illegally to Libya.

We oppose the crimes against humanity and call on The Hague to investigate the involvement of high-ranking officials of EU member states and EU authorities in the crimes. Their actions must be held criminally accountable.

Who are the criminals?

The basis for the list are 12 exemplary cases describing crimes between 2018 and 2021. The material could be gathered from publicly available data and documented incidents from different organizations (Watch the Med – Alarm Phone, Open Arms, Border Forensics, Ask the State, Human Rights Watch, Sea-Watch). A clear and detailed picture emerges of the cooperation between European Union institutions, agencies, bodies and operations (in particular the European Commission, EEAS, EUNAVFOR MED and Frontex) and Member States, including Italy and Malta, with Libyan actors, both at political and operational levels.