The impact of Operation Sophia on the exercise of criminal jurisdiction against migrant smugglers and human traffickers
AbstractFollowing the incident of April 2015, when 800 people lost their life in the Mediterranean Sea, the EU has concentrated its efforts on fighting the smuggling of migrants by sea, with the European Council emphasising that all efforts should be made to prevent the loss of life in the sea, including by cooperating with transit and origin countries of migrants. Hence, in May 2015, a EU Council Decision (Council) on the military operation called EU Naval Force for the Mediterranean Sea (EUNAVFOR MED) was adopted in order to detect the smuggling of migrants in the Southern Central Mediterranean Sea. The military operation was renamed Sophia after a baby who was born on a boat which was rescued by the EUNAVFOR MED (Operation Sophia), on 22 August 2015. On 20 June 2016, the Council extended Operation Sophia’s mandate until 27 July 2017, reinforcing it by adding two supporting tasks, namely: training of the Libyan coastguard and navy; and contributing to the implementation of the UN arms embargo on the high seas off the coast of Libya. The aim of the Decision is ‘to identify, capture and destroy vessels before they are used by traffickers’ and consists of three phases which are analysed in section 2 of this article. Ten months after Operation Sophia transitioned from phase 1 to phase 2 and after the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 2240 (2105), it is opportune to evaluate the effectiveness of the Operation.
CitationVentrella, M. (2016) 'The impact of Operation Sophia on the exercise of criminal jurisdiction against migrant smugglers and human traffickers', Questions of International Law, 30, pp. 3-18.
JournalQIL (Questions of International Law)
The following licence applies to the copyright and re-use of this item:
- Creative Commons
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as https://creativecommons.org/CC BY-NC-ND 4.0