On November 12, SJAC once again urged the ICC Prosecutor to open an investigation into the widespread and systematic attack by Greek authorities and their agents, as well as Frontex officials and their agents, on bona fide refugees. This attack has occurred along the Greek-Turkish border and on the Aegean islands since the start of the EU-Turkey Deal in March 2016. It is carried out by legislative, executive, and judicial practices intentionally coordinated to deny individuals with a well-founded fear of persecution their right to seek asylum in Europe. Not only have these policies and practices put the lives of thousands of people in immediate danger, but they have also deprived victims and survivors of their humanity by leaving them stranded at sea, stripped naked on land, and in a constant state of trauma. The perpetrators have intensified their attack on refugees throughout 2021 despite continued international pressure since the filing of SJAC’s first submission.
For this reason, SJAC gave the ICC Prosecutor a detailed update on the matter and new evidence from the ground, which provides a reasonable basis to believe that Greek and Frontex actions constitute crimes against humanity. As the ICC prepares for the Assembly of States Parties meeting in December, SJAC urges Prosecutor Khan to open an investigation into the alleged crimes, and it calls on States Parties—several of whom have become a safe haven for survivors and have grappled with integrating them given harrowing experiences in Greece—to support an investigation. At a time when the credibility of the Court is often questioned by the people for whom it is meant to serve, the OTP must follow its mandate, acknowledge that the relevant legal standards have been met, and move forward with an investigation.