The Libyan litigation about the 2017 Memorandum of Understanding between Italy and Libya

Majd Achour, T.P. Spijkerboer

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The bilateral agreements between Italy and Libya which entered into force on 4 February 2009 were fatally undermined by the Strasbourg court’s ruling in Hirsi Jamaa and others against Italy. On 2 January 2017, a new Memorandum of Understanding (Italian version here and English version here, analysed in this blog) was signed between Libya and Italy which aims at developing cooperation in different fields including the fighting against irregular migration. In this new agreement, Italy has changed its strategy from push-backs to pull-back operations to Libya. These operations are coordinated, equipped and funded by Italy while carried out by the Libyan coast guard which would also make sure that intercepted asylum seekers will be detained thereafter in Libya pending the voluntary or forced return to their countries of origin. In March 2017, a case was brought before the Tripoli Court of Appeal challenging the MoU. The Tripoli Court of Appeal suspended the MoU by way of interim injunction. In the appeal against that injunction, the Libyan Supreme Court declared the appeal admissible and ruled that the contested ruling, issued by the Tripoli Court of Appeal, was to be annulled due to the lack of functional jurisdiction. The Supreme Court thereby ended the entire lawsuit.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
Journal EU Immigration and Asylum Law and Policy = Droit et Politique de l'Immigration et de l'Asile de l'UE
Issue numberJune 2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2020


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