Italy: Administrative Court rules against the Italian Government refusal to share documentation of the Italian SAR operations in the Mediterranean Sea

Thursday, August 1, 2019

On 1 August 2019, the Regional Administrative Court of Lazio overturned a decision from the Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport to refuse to share information related to the Italian Search and Rescue (SAR) Operations on the grounds of national security and international relations.

At the end of 2018, ASGI (Associazione Studi Giuridici Immigrazione) presented to the Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport a public access request to the reports on two SAR Operations conducted by the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (IMRCC) on 3-12 October and 5-7 November 2018.

The Ministry rejected this request stating that the SAR operations were part of national and NATO military activities and that information sharing was potentially injurious for national security and Italy’s international relations as established by D. lgs 33/2013 c 5bis.

The Regional Administrative Court of Lazio overturned the decision and held that SAR operations cannot be defined as military operations solely on the grounds of the possible use of military vessels. It concluded that due to the significance, frequency and nature of the fundamental rights at stake in SAR Operations, this type of information cannot be concealed from the public under the rules of transparency. 

Based on an unofficial translation by the ELENA Weekly Legal Update

Photo: (CC) Ray Pitt, September 2006 / Flickr

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