Vienna, 12 February 2016 - The following is a statement UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, on a criminal trial in Palermo, Italy, that ended with the successful dismantling of a migrant smuggling network. While operational, the criminal network stretched across 12 countries and two continents and was responsible for the loss of 300 lives off the coast of Lampedusa in 2013.
Known as Glauco 1, the criminal investigation led to the successful conviction of six smugglers and the issuing of a number of European and international arrest warrants for other members of the criminal network. The investigation also exhaustively examined migrant smuggling networks that operate in Eritrea, Ethiopia and Libya, as well as in many European countries.
I warmly welcome Italy's achievements in the "Glauco 1" investigation. The investigation and subsequent guilty verdicts send a powerful signal to every country that migrant smuggling laws must not only be adopted, but also forcefully applied against criminals.
The Italian authorities' extensive use of the legal tools provided by the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) is to be applauded. These tools included special investigative techniques, protection of witnesses and strong international cooperation to discover and disrupt illicit financial flows.
A speedy conclusion to a complicated criminal process was also achieved, while upholding the highest fair trial standards. This must also be commended. I also find it particularly fitting that this decision should come from a criminal court in Palermo, the birthplace of UNTOC.
I am convinced that, if we are to successfully counter migrant smuggling, there is an urgent need for greater cooperation among countries to catch the criminals, as well as an enhanced commitment to bring them to justice.
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