Professor Seline Trevisanut, Utrecht University, gives a talk for the Public International Law discussion group series.
On 27 January 2021, the UN Human Rights Committee ascertained the responsibility of Italy for failing to protect the right to life of more than 200 migrants who were on board a vessel that sank in the Mediterranean Sea in 2013. The HR Committee adopted a clear functional approach to jurisdiction based on the ‘special relationship of dependency’ between the individuals on a vessel in distress and the SAR state(s). This decision was also met with criticism by some members of the HR Committee who clearly dissented with this functional approach and considered that the adopted functional approach ‘might disrupt the legal order which the SOLAS and the SAR Conventions attempted to introduce.’
The present talk will dissect the reasoning of the HR Committee in light of the SOLAS and SAR Conventions in order to highlight the law of the sea underpinnings of a functional approach to jurisdiction. It will also emphasize how the recognition of a right to be rescued at sea strengthens the legal order created by the SOLAS and SAR Conventions.
Seline Trevisanut (PhD, University of Milan; MA, Paris I-Panthéon Sorbonne) is Professor of International Law and Sustainability at Utrecht University since 2018. Before joining Utrecht in 2012 as Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow, she taught and conducted research in various institutions, including Columbia University, the European University Institute, and UC Berkeley. Seline is a member of the Scientific Council of the Institut du droit économique de la mer and several editorial boards. Her publications include a monograph on Irregular migration by sea in international and EU law (Jovene 2012, in Italian), and edited volumes, inter alia, on Migration in the Mediterranean: Mechanism of International Cooperation (CUP 2015) and Regime Interaction in Ocean Governance: Problems, theories and methods (Brill 2020).