Massacres at sea: Responsibility of states and violated obligations

Online seminar, Friday 2 October, at 4.00 pm

It will be possible to follow the live broadcast of the event on the Borderline Sicilia YouTube channel and on the Borderline Sicilia and Melting Pot Europa Facebook page

Besides the countless massacres that bloodied the Mediterranean – among which we recall the one that took place in 2013 off the coast of Lampedusa, whose anniversary is next 3rd October – we denounce an inhuman system of criminalization of rescue at sea, in which the seizures of rescue ships, the prohibitions and delays in the landings of the shipwrecked and, lastly, the prohibition placed by the Coast Guard on boarding the search and rescue team on the Ionian Sea have now been institutionalized.

Constitutional values ​​and international standards, however, provide for rescue and accompaniment to the nearest safe port as a precise obligation of States and of every ship that encounters shipwrecked or other vessels in danger.

The “Gregoretti affair” trial which has started a few days ago offers the starting point for examining the human and legal problems concerning rescue at sea.

In this seminar, we want to take a look at this particular situation and offer interpretations of a phenomenon that is increasingly dividing opinions and consciences.



4:00 pm Opening words

4:10 pm Judith Gleitze, Borderline Sicilia and Alarm Phone – Rescue at sea and the criminalization of rescues

4:35 pm Emilio Santoro, University of Florence and L’Altro Diritto (The Other Right) – The right to be rescued, the duty to help

5.00 pm Giorgia Linardi, Sea Watch – The civilian presence in the Mediterranean: the story of a witness who has become uncomfortable

5:25 pm Gianluca Vitale, Legal Team Italy, and LasciateCIEntrare – Rescue at sea between obligation and omission. Consequences on the criminal level


Moderator: Raffaella Cosentino (Rai journalist)


Meeting promoted by: 

Borderline Sicilia Onlus

MeltingPot Europa
Rete Antirazzista Catanese


Translated by Anna Doumbia