Libyan court blocks the Italy-Libya deal on cooperation against illegal migration

24 March 2017 – On the day the Spanish NGO Pro-Activa Open Arms announced yet another refugee boat sinking on the Mediterranean Sea, counting two vessels and nearly 260 people who lost their lives, Tripoli’s Court blocked the Italy-Libya deal. In a ruling on the Memorandum of Understanding signed with Italy in February the court declared that “the MoU will be blocked urgently until the lawsuit is tackled in full”, the Libya Observer reported.

The agreement, signed by the Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and by the Libyan Presidency Council chief Fairez Serraj on behalf of the Government of National Accord (GNA), aims at stepping up the cooperation between the two countries in the fight against human trafficking and and smuggling from Libyan shores to Italy, and to secure Europe’s southern borders.

The lawsuit was brought before the Court by 6 individuals, among them General Khalifa Haftar and the former Justice Minister Salah Al-Maghani. The Libya Herald reports that Haftar does not recognise Serraj’s authority and challenged the authority of the Presidency Council to conclude such an agreement. According to the Libyan Political Agreement, without the House of Representatives’ approval the GNA and the State Council do not have a legal standing.