Friday 7 August 2009

Parliamentary Assembly Lambasts Italy for Ignoring Court's Interim Measures

The chair of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly's Legal Affairs Committee, Herta Däubler-Gmelin, and the Assembly's rapporteur on the implementation of ECtHR judgments, Christos Porgourides, have lambasted Italy for ignoring yet another interim measure of the Court. Last Sunday Italy sent back applicant Ali Toumi to Tunesia in spite of an interim measure by the Court requesting the country not to extradite Toumi. The two Parliamentary Assembly officials have called this "unacceptable" and "disgraceful". According to them, this is the fourth case since 2005 in which Italy went against the orders of the Court - which is indeed very worrying in itself.

In an earlier report (April 2009), the Council of Europe's Commissioner on Human Rights had already voiced his concerns on the general issue:

The Commissioner remains worried by a number of deportations that have taken place, especially from Italy to Tunisia, and by credible reports showing that on certain occasions the deportees had been subjected to torture in the latter country. Of special concern to the Commissioner have been two such cases where deportations to Tunisia took place in 2008 even though the European Court of Human Rights had indicated interim measures under its Rule 39, requesting Italy to stay deportations while the deportees’ applications were pending before it. Even though the Commissioner is aware of the difficulties faced by member states in their efforts to protect their societies from terrorist violence, he remains deeply concerned by state practices that contravene fundamental European human rights standards such as the one prohibiting in absolute terms torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The Commissioner strongly opposes forced returns, even if they occur under cover of diplomatic assurances, to countries with long-standing, proven records of torture. He calls on the Italian authorities to urgently review their policy in this field and effectively conform to the binding interim measures ordered by the European Court of Human Rights.
For the press release of the Parliamentary Assembly, click here.