Decision of the Court of Cassation, I Criminal Section, No. 36052 of 23 May 2014

The decision concerned a case of seizure of a ship and arrest of the crew in high sea, for the crime of migrant smuggling. The Court of Cassation stated that Italian authorities may exercise such coercive powers in international waters, if: a) the ship does not fly the flag of any foreign State, b) Italian legislation has been violated by the members of the crew; and c) Italy has jurisdiction over these persons in accordance with its national law and the relevant treaties. Moreover, and bearing in mind the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Palermo Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants, as well the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in the case Hirsi Jamaa, the Italian authorities had, also, a duty to rescue the victims of migrant smuggling in high sea.

  • See also:

    Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, Grand Chamber, 23 February 2012, Hirsi Jamaa and Others v. Italy

  • Original language: Italiano