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Accepted Paper:

Enabling versus causing: the juridification of struggles against border externalization in the Central Mediterranean  
Kiri Santer (University of Bern)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines the strategies of lawyers and activists struggling to render accountable the EU and Italy for policies of ‘contactless’ refoulement of migrants in the Mediterranean. It explores the juridification of notions of ‘enabling’ harm creation beyond immediate causation.

Paper long abstract:

The EU’s support to the Libyan Coast Guard (LYCG) and Libyan authorities in the realm of migration control has enabled the establishment of a regime of ‘contactless’ control of European authorities over migrants fleeing from Libya. The ‘contactless’ nature of this externalization of control designates the fact that the delegation of the actual ‘handling’ of migrants on their journey also enables an externalization of liability. The difficulties of demonstrating effective control as well as the limits of European jurisdiction render Human Rights claims for these types of violations challenging. Through the description of the struggles of lawyers attempting to address Italian and EU responsibility in relation to crimes committed by the LYCG and injustices endured by migrants in the Mediterranean Sea, this paper discusses their turn to argumentations of administrative and financial complicity of Italy and the EU for their support to the LYCG. I examine two claims: one made to the European Court of Auditors for the mismanagement of EU Funds for their support to ‘Integrated Border Management in Libya’ and another, made to the Supreme Administrative Court in Italy for the misuse of development funds for the enhancement of Libyan authorities’ capacity to intercept migrants at sea. I argue that the multiplication of legal spheres in which attempts to address the nefarious consequences of Europe’s externalization of migration control, is part of a growing trend to put the role of ‘enabling’ (rather than direct causation) at the center of political debates on allocations of responsibility for harm creation.

Panel Mora02b
Complicities: politics and ethics at the edges of responsibility II
  Session 1 Friday 2 April, 2021, -