Independent Inquiry Launched into Greek Coast Guard's Handling of Migrant Tragedy: Ombudsman Takes Action Amidst Council of Europe's Approval

EU policy shipwreck

Greece's State Ombudsman announced on Thursday the initiation of an independent inquiry into handling a maritime tragedy in June. The incident involved an overloaded boat carrying hundreds of migrants attempting to reach Europe, with fears that many may have drowned.

This decision comes in response to the Greek Coast Guard's refusal to launch a disciplinary investigation despite written requests from the ombudsman. Given the Coast Guard's reluctance, the independent authority emphasized the necessity of investigating the matter.

The Council of Europe, a prominent human rights organization, applauded this move. Dunja Mijatović, the council's human rights commissioner, emphasized the paramount importance of an independent investigation to uncover the truth and potentially hold those responsible accountable.

In a statement, Mijatović expressed appreciation for the Greek Ombudsman's initiative, considering it a significant contribution to the broader effort. Simultaneously, a military court with jurisdiction over Greece's navy and coast guard is conducting a preliminary investigation into the shipwreck that occurred on June 14, leading to the recovery of 104 survivors and 78 bodies.

Up to 750 people were believed to have been on the rusty fishing vessel, mostly below decks, when it sharply listed and quickly sank in the night. That would make it one of the worst disasters of its kind in the Mediterranean.

The court is also handling a lawsuit by 40 survivors, who accuse the Coast Guard of failing to prevent the shipwreck and loss of life.

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024