Riccardo Luporini

Liability for Crimes Against Humanity in the Offshore Detention of Asylum Seekers: Some Thoughts Regarding the So-called ‘Australian Model’ of Refugee Policy

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: refugees and migrants; human rights; crimes against humanity; International Criminal Court; corporate responsibility; Australian model of refugee policy.

In February 2017 a group of legal experts gathered by the International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic of the Stanford Law School and the Global Action Network submitted a Communi-qué with the aim of urging the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to launch an investigation into the possible perpetration of crimes against humanity in the de-tention of asylum seekers in Nauru and Manus Island. The living conditions in these offshore detention centres, whose management is entrusted to private companies, are extensively reported as inhumane. Along with raising an issue of State and corporate responsibility for the alleged infringement of a series of basic human rights recognised and protected by international human rights law, this case may pro-vide a legal and factual basis for the potential individual liability of government and corporate officials. After an illustration of the basic facts concerning Australian refugee policy and the offshore detention of asylum seekers, the article examines the Communiqué to the OTP, focusing on the alleged offences, the attribution of individual liability, and the jurisdiction of the ICC. Considering that a series of situ-ations – especially at the borders of Europe – is already revealing a striking similarity, the ultimate aim of the article is to shed light on the possible repercussions that may ensue from the emulation of the so-called 'Australian model' of refugee policy, not least at an individual level.

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