Prosecutors and judges meet to strengthen judicial cooperation to address migrant smuggling across the Mediterranean

"The media brings to our attention frequent tragedies in the Mediterranean of people drowning, however it is unlikely that this reflects the severity of the real situation. Migrant smuggling may only become visible when tragedies occur or emergency humanitarian responses are required." Dr. Peter Grech, Attorney General of Malta, and Mr. Péter David, from the European Commission, by referring to 5,098 deaths recorded in 2016 in the Mediterranean Sea, reminded judges, prosecutors, and central authorities from around the Mediterranean Sea of the humanitarian dimension and tragedy behind migrant smuggling and the importance to dismantle the business model of migrant smugglers by pooling the efforts of the affected countries along the route to work together in countering this transnational organized crime. 

The overall aim of UNODC Regional Training Workshop to Promote Judicial cooperation against the Smuggling of Migrants by Sea affecting the Mediterranean Sea, held in Malta, 9 - 11 May 2017was to support participating States in their endeavour to dismantle criminal networks engaging in migrant smuggling by sea while protecting the human rights of smuggled migrants through effective judicial cooperation. The 40 participants from Algeria, Egypt, Greece, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey France, Italy, the USA, the European Commission, the European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) Mediterranean Operation Sophia and UNODC discussed how to strengthen States' capacities to engage in judicial cooperation to combat migrant smuggling, making use of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and its Supplementing Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air (Smuggling of Migrants Protocol), as well as other relevant international and regional instruments. Participants worked on a case study during this workshop which allowed them to share their concrete experiences and challenges when cooperating in migrant smuggling cases across the Mediterranean. The outcome of their discussions was presented during a mock trial where arguments for the prosecution and the defence prepared by the participants were heard by a fictional judge.

This regional workshop on migrant smuggling by sea, organized by the Global Programme against the Smuggling of Migrants together with GLO.ACT, in collaboration with the Global Maritime Crime Programme and the Regional Programme for the Middle East and North Africa, with the financial support of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) of the US Department of State and the European Union, was the fourth of a series of regional workshops on this thematic issue (previously held in Panama, India, Italy). This follow up workshop on migrant smuggling in the Mediterranean contributes to the implementation of UNODC's Strategy for the Building of Capacity through an Integrated Response (Contribution to International Efforts to Address the Smuggling of Migrants across the Mediterranean).

                                                

                                                                                                                                                       This project is co-funded by the European Union