Some could be charged in boat disaster

March 29, 2012 at 5:57 PM
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LONDON, March 29 (UPI) -- European officials said those who failed to aid a boat carrying African refugees that was lost at sea may be charged for ignoring the boat's pleas for help.

The Council of Europe, the agency investigating the case of 63 African migrants, many of whom died after being stranded in the Mediterranean last year, Thursday warned that those responsible could end up in court, The Guardian reported.

The report cited "human, institutional and legal" failures for the inaction on the part of NATO, its warships, the Italian coastguard and individual European states that had vessels in the Mediterranean at the time.

Tineke Strik, the report's author, said: "This is only the beginning, and in the long run there is no doubt that if more evidence is gathered the question may arise about whether a crime has been committed here. We are talking about everything from potential breaches of the international maritime conventions to article two of the European court of human rights, which protects the right to life. There are many legal possibilities."

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