Complaint for “manslaughter” after the drowning of migrants

Complaint for “manslaughter” after the drowning of migrants

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Complaint for “manslaughter” after the drowning of migrants

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Complaint for “manslaughter” after the drowning of migrants

Posted 20 December 2021, 16:

The 24 November, near 27 migrants lost their lives in the sinking of their boat between France and England. An association is suing the prefect and the emergency services of the two countries.

Migrants regularly attempt to cross the Channel in perilous conditions and with equipment that is not always reliable…

AFP An association lodged a complaint on Monday against the maritime prefect and two French and British relief officials for “manslaughter” and “failure to provide assistance”, after the shipwreck which cost the life of 27 migrants, at the end of November, in the Channel, which separates France from England .

This Utopia complaint 35, revealed by the newspaper “Le Monde” , was filed Friday with the Paris prosecutor. It targets the maritime prefect Philippe Dutrieux, the director of the Gris-Nez regional operational surveillance and rescue center (Cross), Marc Bonnafous, and the English maritime rescue director (Her Majesty’s Coastguards), Claire Hughes.

“According to the testimonies of the two survivors, relatives of deceased people and people who made the crossing on the same day,” distress calls were reported to the French and English rescue services “before the bodies were discovered by a boat from fishing ”, emphasizes the Utopia association 35. However, “no help would have been brought to them immediately.”

“Excluded” that a call was not answered

At the beginning of December, the maritime prefecture of La Manche had ruled out that a call from migrants could not have been dealt with by the sea rescue services. Contacted on Monday, she refused to make any new comments on the complaint. The investigations of the Parisian examining magistrates “will establish the facts”, affirmed a spokesperson. “No worrying situation at sea is left in abeyance, whatever the sector from which the call comes, especially since it concerns human lives”, insisted the maritime prefecture.

The bodies of 25 migrants – eighteen men, seven women, one adolescent from years old and a 7-year-old child, mostly Iraqi Kurds – had been rescued on 18 November, in the English Channel. They had left in the night, aboard an inflatable boat, from Loon-Plage, near Grande-Synthe (Nord department), towards the English coast.

Only two survivors

Only two men, an Iraqi Kurd and a Sudanese, according to the French Interior Ministry, were able to be rescued. According to the Iraqi Kurdish survivor, 33 people were edge. He had reported to the Iraqi Kurdish channel Rudaw that the migrants had telephoned the French and British emergency services when their boat had started to sink.

According to him, the help had not been triggered, French and English returning the responsibility of the intervention. The complaint emphasizes that his words were confirmed by the second survivor.

Identification, circumstances, dismantling

The investigation for “help with irregular entry and stay in an organized band”, “homicide and involuntary injuries” and “criminal association” was entrusted on Friday to investigating judges. These investigations “relate, from the beginning”, to “three components: the identification of the victims, the circumstances of the shipwreck and the dismantling of the networks of smugglers”, indicated the Parquet of Paris, specifying also that the complaint was “in analysis course ”.

From January 1 to 24 November 2021, the maritime prefecture has counted 1200 events relating to sea crossings to the United Kingdom, involving 30’083 people. The French authorities rescued 8284 shipwrecked.

In its complaint, Utopia 35 denounces “negligence of the emergency services in French and British seas ”, which the association“ regularly ”observes. She hopes that with this procedure, “all the light will be shed on the circumstances of this shipwreck”. And regrets that the investigation in France seems to “focus primarily on the role of smugglers”, while the United Kingdom seems to have launched no investigation. “It is essential and necessary to prosecute those who trade in human life”, but “we must also necessarily be interested in the conditions of this shipwreck”, said Emmanuel Daoud, lawyer of the association.


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