Wanted a team of lawyers at the European Border Guard Agency Frontex He was legally forced to withdraw from the mission in the Aegean. This stems from a message SPIEGEL has been able to see.
The group about attorneys Omar Schatz, Fatah Cohen and Anastasia Nataliani made serious allegations against Frontex President Fabrice Legere in the letter. “Frontex is complicit in Greek policy of exposing vulnerable migrants at sea,” says Shatz.
He describes the illegal pushbacks in the Aegean Sea, which Spiegel has documented several times with research partners, as “crimes against humanity”. It is illegal deportation, torture and possible murder.
Schatz wants to go to the European Court of Justice
Leggeri is after Article 46 of Frontex Regulations She is obligated to terminate duties if she becomes aware of gross and ongoing violations of human rights. In Schatz’s view, systematic replays fit this definition. He and his colleagues have now written to ask Leggeri to finish the mission in the Aegean. If he doesn’t, they want to go to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg.
Schatz teaches at the Institute of Political Science in Paris. He and Cohen belong to Front-Lex, which deals with legal violations at the external borders of the European Union. Neteliani works for an NGO for Lesvos Legal Center.
In the 32-page letter, the lawyers explained how Frontex has been systematically helping and covering the Greek Coast Guard in legal violations since the beginning of March 2020. It is largely based on research conducted by SPIEGEL and its partners.
Frontex was involved in illegal blockades
Since May 2020, SPIEGEL has been tracking how the Greek coast guard stopped boats carrying refugees in the Aegean Sea, destroying engines and migrants. Presented at sea Either in the lifeboats themselves or in the inflatable lifeboats. People are often rescued hours later by the Turkish coast guard. In addition to men and women, children are also exposed. Research shows that at least seven repulsions were Frontex units Close or involved.
In their report, the lawyers describe how European border guards support the illegal actions of the Greek coast guard. Not only do Frontex service officers hand over refugees to their Greek colleagues, but in some cases they watch the Coast Guard drag them back. A Swedish crew saw Greek border guards tying a rope to a boat carrying refugees and dragging migrants into Turkish waters. German crew Got it August 10thHow the Greek Coast Guard took refugees on the ship and later returned to the port without them.
“Legeri and his staff run the risk of making themselves criminals.”
Schatz and his associates also accuse Legere of misleading the European Parliament. Legere withheld one thing from the deputies The Greek Coast Guard repulsed the night of April 18-19. Frontex aircraft broke the law at Frontex headquarters Warsaw stream.
The President of Frontex told the MPs that there was no evidence Frontex border guards were involved in repelling. In fact, there are videos of it that SPIEGEL has been able to verify. Shatz and co said in the letter that Legere’s statement was “misleading, at least.”
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“Frontex has a negative duty and a positive duty,” says Schatz. The agency is not permitted to participate in any actions that violate human rights or refugee protection. “But it must also actively ensure that there are no such violations of law within its jurisdiction.”
Schatz believes that if legal action is taken, Legery could be fired. The Director of Frontex was personally responsible for ensuring that the EU Agency did not withdraw from the process. Legeri knew of the crimes. “Legeri and his staff run the risk of making themselves criminals,” says Schatz.
Parliament, the Ombudsman and the Anti-Fraud Authority are investigating Frontex
Frontex has been granted more and more powers and money under Legere. The agency’s budget has grown from Six Good to around 460 million euros. By 2027, European taxpayers will provide Frontex with 5.6 billion euros. But the agency is plunging into chaos.
European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly now has two Frontex investigation started. On the one hand, it concerns Frontex’s pushbacks and internal control mechanisms; On the other hand, lack of transparency. The agency refuses to provide parliamentarians in the European Union with position data on its own ships.
The European Parliament is one The private test group was establishedTo investigate the allegations. She must now meet witnesses and experts for four months and then prepare a report. Left-wing Democrats and Greens are already calling for Legeri’s resignation.
European Union Anti-Fraud Authority Olaf is investigating according to SPIEGEL research Against the head of Frontex personally. Among other things, it has to do with pushbacks, a potential fraud case, and the question of whether Legere or the Prime Minister are yelling at their colleagues or speaking badly about them behind their backs. The question catalog reads as if Leggeri’s entire management style were in test.