In the eastern and central Mediterranean, the importance attached by regional actors to the existence of a defined legal framework for maritime delimitation has recently emerged with reference to two separate but interrelated cases: the exploitation of hydrocarbon resources offshore Cyprus and the stipulation of a “memorandum of understanding” between Turkey and the Libyan Government led by Mr Fayez al-Sarraj and recognized by the United Nations (UN). In both cases, a clear contrast between the position and interests of Turkey, on the one hand, and the claims of a number of other coastal States, on the other, emerged. As will be seen, the Italian Government took a strong stance against the actions of Turkey, in the first case, but it adopted, instead, a position of mild criticism in the second case.Continue reading
Category Archives: Use of Territory
The Threatened Demolition of the Khan al-Ahmar “Rubber Tire School” in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
The Khan al-Ahmar community is located in the West Bank, near the road that connects Jerusalem to the city of Jericho and the Dead Sea and not far from the Israeli settlements that rise to the east of the Holy City. Its 180 inhabitants (35 Bedouin families) belong to the tribal group Jahalin, originating from Tel Arad, in southern Israel. Members of this clan were expelled by the Israeli army in 1951 and had to relocate in what was then a territory under the control of Jordan. Nowadays, their lands are formally located within the so-called Area C of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which, under the Oslo Accords, is administered by Israel, and in particular on corridor E1, an area considered strategic for controlling the territory up to Jericho and for the expansion of the settlements. Families are extremely poor and live in temporary structures built without permits from the Israeli authorities, often funded by European countries. Villages are not connected to electricity, roads and the sewage system. They lack health and education infrastructures. Scattered in the area of Khan al-Ahmar live twelve Palestinian communities with roughly 1,400 inhabitants. The so-called “Rubber Tire School”, located in Khan al-Ahmar, serves 150 children from five different communities. The Italian NGO Terra di Vento established it in 2009 with an innovative project using mud and tires. Together with other infrastructures, it was funded by Italy, Belgium and the European Union.
Over the years, the Israeli authorities have confiscated and demolished existing facilities and issued several demolition orders to the detriment of the Bedouin communities of the Jerusalem area. As documented by the Israeli NGO B’Tselem, “from 2006 until the end of May 2018, 26 residential structures were demolished. 132 people were left without shelter, of which 77 were children and teenagers. In addition, 7 non-residential structures were demolished”.
Several petitions were filed with the High Court of Justice in favor or against the demolition orders. The Israeli settlers petitioned the Court to have the demolition orders implemented, whereas the Palestinian communities tried to resist deportation. In this respect, the position of the Israeli Government is that the Khan al-Ahmar buildings were established without any permits and that residents have been offered an alternative location where the school would be reconstructed.
On 28 May 2018, the Israeli High Court confirmed that the Government might demolish the homes of the residents of Khan al-Ahmar and the school. On 4 July the Israeli civil administration started implementing the expulsion of the residents and the demolition of the buildings, but a subsequent petition to the Court froze the process. With a temporary injunction, the Court invited the parties to reach an agreement. The Government then insisted on the immediate relocation of the Palestinian community to a site in Abu Dis, near a garbage dump. The Palestinian community refused the proposed solution and continued resisting to the expulsion and the destruction of their homes.Continue reading
Negotiation and Signature of the Caen Agreement on the Delimitation of Territorial Waters and Maritime Jurisdiction between Italy and France
On 13 January 2016 the French authorities arrested the Italian fishing vessel Mina with the accusation of violating French territorial waters. The Mina was arrested during fishery of the red shrimp off the Ligurian coast, between Ventimiglia and the Mentone bay, before the Balzi Rossi reef, and was released upon payment of an 8300-euro deposit. Subsequently, the French authorities expressed regret for the arrest, conceding that it ensued from a wrongful determination of the boundary and jurisdiction over the area. The case spotlighted the on-going discussion between Italy and France over the determination of their maritime boundaries and corresponding fishing rights in an area off Liguria and North of Sardinia, pending the ratification of the so-called Caen Agreement. To date, Italy’s and France’s jurisdiction and fishing rights in the respective areas have been regulated de facto by the 1986 Bocche di Bonifacio Agreement and the 1892 Convention on the fishing zone in the Mentone Bay. More specifically, the 1892 Mentone Bay Convention has never entered into force and was negotiated as a modus vivendi providing for a cooperative ground between the countries, whilst leaving their positions legally unprejudiced. As to the Bocche di Bonifacio Agreement, it only determines French and Italian territorial waters in the Strait of Bonifacio. Though regulating the fisheries traditions and practices of French and Italian fishing vessels in a common zone West of the Strait, the Agreement fails to comprehensively establish the Parties’ maritime boundaries and fishing rights. The Caen Agreement, when in force, would thus constitute the first bilateral instrument to effectively determine the maritime boundaries between the two countries and serve as a basis to settle possible disputes.
The Minister of Defence Takes Position on the Storage of Nuclear Weapons on the Italian Territory and the Obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES, XVII LEGISLATURE, 175th MEETING, 17 FEBRUARY 2014.
On 17 February 2014 the Minister of Defence, Mr. Mario Mauro, reported in writing to the Chamber of Deputies on a request for information concerning the types of nuclear weapons stored in Italy, their location and the compatibility between such practice and the obligations deriving from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to which Italy is a party. Minister Mauro stated the following:
A Statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Emma Bonino, on the Refusal to Granting Overflight Rights to Evo Morales
CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES AND SENATE OF THE REPUBLIC, 1st, 3rd, AND 4th JOINT COMMISSIONS, XVII LEGISLATURE, 1st MEETING, 4 JULY 2013.
On 4 July 2013, Minister Bonino made reference to the actions taken by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in relation to an incident occurred to the Bolivian President, Evo Morales, during his way back to Bolivia after an official visit to Moscow. The presidential aircraft had requested an authorization to fly over some European countries that was eventually rejected on 2 July 2013. This generated protests from Latin American countries, which saw the refusal to grant the overflight permission as stemming from the suspicion that Mr. Snowden was on board of the Presidential aircraft. In her statement, Ms. Bonino highlights the connections between this incident and the security measures adopted after 9/11 by the US and made some considerations on the relevance for Italy and the EU of the Snowden case. She stated:
Environmental Concerns over the Construction of MUOS: The Position of the Ministry of Defence
CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES, XVII LEGISLATURE, 21st MEETING, 22 MAY 2013 – QUESTION TIME.
Pending an opinion of the Istituto Superiore della Sanità (National Health Institute), the Region of Sicily resorted to the precautionary principle under Article 191 TFEU and revoked its environmental authorizations for the construction of MUOS (a US military communication system) on its territory. On 22 May 2013, the Ministry of Defence, Mr. Mario Mauro, explained his Ministry’s decision to appeal against such revocation. He made reference to the duty to comply with the obligations undertaken by Italy under Article IX(3) of the London Agreement of 1951 between the Parties to the North Atlantic Treaty. Some excerpts from the Minister’s speech follow here below: