The Lazio regional administrative court (TAR) has rejected a request to suspend the decree with which the government established that Italian ports cannot be considered "places of safety" following the coronavirus emergency. Judges set a hearing on the matter for July.
The Lazio regional administrative court (TAR) denied a request for a precautionary suspension of the decree establishing that Italian ports cannot be considered "places of safety" due to the coronavirus emergency.
The suspension was requested by the cultural and social organization ARCI, which also offers support to migrants.
The interministerial decree was issued April 7 and established that, due to the coronavirus emergency, Italian ports cannot be considered places of safety for the disembarkation of migrants rescued at sea by ships flying foreign flags and outside of the Italian search-and-rescue area.
The third section of the Lazio TAR denied the suspension, and judges set a hearing on the matter for July.
Decree 'motivated by serious arguments'
The TAR said, "there is a need for the more appropriate judicial panel to elaborate on the substantial questions posed by the appeal" regarding the hypothetical "violation of international regulations on the law of the sea (with particular regard to the right to be rescued at sea in the event of a shipwreck) and on the right to asylum."
The administrative judges also said that there is a "need to balance opposing interests" because the decree "is motivated by serious arguments regarding the current emergency situation from COVID-19, and the resulting impossibility of providing a 'place of safety', without compromising the functionality of national health, logistical, and security facilities working for the containment of the spread of infection and for the assistance and treatment of patients."
Motivations of the judges' decision
The danger, therefore, "for migrants (current or potential) who are exposed to the risk of shipwreck at sea must be correctly classified within the context of an extensive regulatory framework (national and international) in which, however, assistance is guaranteed to people who are rescued at sea."
The judges said the situation calls for remembering how "Italy identified, in recent incidents that occurred, alternative solutions to ensure the hospitality of migrants rescued at sea through the transfer to the ship 'Rubattino' of the Tirrenia company of the migrants rescued by the 'Alan Kurdi' (on the afternoon of April 17) and the 'Aita Mari' (on the morning of April 19) and the successive redistribution of the migrants in Italy at the end of the quarantine."
The effect of all of this is that the TAR maintained that "it cannot accept the proposed precautionary request" but "promptly schedules a hearing on the matter for July 20, 2020, given the intricacy of the topics under examination."