Update on the 2nd meeting of the Initiative of Lawyers and Jurists for the Pylos shipwreck in the Athens Bar Association

Update on the 2nd meeting of the Initiative of Lawyers and Jurists for the Pylos shipwreck in the Athens Bar Association

On July 10, 2023, the 2nd meeting of the Initiative of Lawyers and Jurists for the Pylos Shipwreck took place at the Athens Bar Association. 

The meeting began with updates on the Initiative’ actions  after the first meeting of June 22, as well as on the legal actions undertaken by lawyers representing survivors and relatives of the dead or missing.

The Initiative has already taken steps to build an infrastructure: it created a website, an email address and a Facebook page, to serve as a focal point for updates, information and documentation regarding the shipwreck. Members of the Initiative visited Malakasa and spoke with survivors, who confirmed the accounts already provided by dozens of other witnesses regarding the towing of “Andriana” vessel by the Greek Coast Guard, resulting in its sinking. We supported with our presence and the dispatch of press releases the lawyers of the families of the missing persons, who on July 6, 2023 submitted to the Kalamata District Court a request to lift the boat, recover the hundreds of bodies for the purpose of identification and dignified burial, and to photograph the wreck. We also drew attention to the start of a preliminary examination at the Piraeus Naval Court to investigate possible criminal responsibilities of the Coast Guard staff, which was first announced by the European Commissioner for Home Affairs I. Johansson and not by the Greek authorities. Members of the Initiative have already begun the documentation work, collecting publications, compiling a chronology, and gathering legislation and case-law, with the aim of assisting the lawyers working in the field.

Updates and interventions were made by lawyers representing the victims of the shipwreck, both independently and in the context of organizations (Refugee Support Aegean (RSA), the Greek Council for Refugees, the Pakistani Community “Unity” and KEERFA). As of the time of writing, the interviews in the framework of the asylum procedure have been completed and the relevant decisions are pending. Several of the asylum seekers no longer reside in the Malakasa camp.

it was further commonly agreed that the victims, both the survivors and the relatives of the dead and the missing (whether identified or not), should be supported during their appearance in the investigation procedure to ascertain the criminal responsibilities of the State bodies in charge of the operation. The role of our initiative will be to assist the victims, their families and their advocates by any suitable means (political visibility, public interventions with press releases, participation in support actions etc.).

Updates and interventions were also made by members of Forensis (Forensic Architecture) who are investigating the case and have already published their first findings in collaboration with major foreign media, as well as a member of OmniaTV, a member of the Board of Directors of the Hellenic League for Human Rights, who all affirmed their active support for the victims, their advocates and this initiative.

As an Initiative, we declare our support for any support action, event or meeting that highlights the deadly shipwreck and the criminal responsibilities of the Greek authorities and Frontex in the loss of hundreds of human lives, and we will participate in them to the best of our ability.

Our next actions will be announced through the electronic channels of the Initiative.

Initiative of lawyers and jurists for the Pylos shipwreck.