The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim Khan welcomed the recent arrests of two key human trafficking suspects in Ethiopia. They are to be extradited to Italy and the Netherlands.
In a statement on Friday, Khan said he is pleased to note that the ICC has supported the collective effort to make this operation a success, and to hold those responsible to account.
On 5 October, a 38-year-old Eritrean national was extradited from Ethiopia to the Netherlands, after years of investigations by the Dutch Public Prosecution Service and the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee.
On 12 October, Gebremedhin Temesghen Ghebru, a 35-year-old man from Eritrea, was extradited from Ethiopia to Italy following efforts by the Polizia di Stato and the Palermo Prosecutor’s Office. Both suspects were allegedly involved in human smuggling from Africa to Europe.
“In the course of the journey, the victims were reportedly subjected to brutal violence, including in camps located in Libya, and suffered beatings, starvation, sexual violence, and extortion,” Khan added.
The arrest and extradition of the suspects are of significant importance in the work that Italy and the Netherlands are undertaking, to hold perpetrators accountable for crimes against migrants.
He pointed out that the ICC has also actively assisted these investigations through the sharing of knowledge, information, evidence, and through joint witness interviews. “As I have stated recently before the United Nations Security Council, under the Rome Statute, crimes against migrants may constitute crimes against humanity and war crimes,” Khan said.
“As I noted in my last report to the United Nations Security Council, the situation in Libya is a priority for my Office, and deepening our cooperation with national authorities in pursuit of accountability is one of the core principles at the heart of the renewed strategy I outlined to the Council in April of this year,” he stressed.
“This message of cooperation and dynamic complementarity is one I will emphasise on my upcoming visit to Libya, building upon the other visits by my Office this year,” he concluded.