five soldiers indicted for failing to assist a person in danger / France News

The investigation overwhelmed the French rescuers. Five soldiers were indicted Thursday, May 25 in Paris, for failure to assist a person in danger in the investigation into the death of 27 migrants in the sinking of their boat in the Channel, at the end of 2021, learned Agence France-Presse (AFP) from a judicial source.

According to a source close to the case, these are three women and two men in office at the time of the events at the regional operational center for surveillance and rescue Gris-Nez (Cross, Pas-de-Calais), in charge of rescue in the Channel.

A dozen people had been taken into custody as part of this investigation.
In this case, the French authorities are suspected of having been called for help fifteen times and of not having come to the aid of the migrants on the night of the sinking. Asked by AFP, the director of Cross Gris-Nez did not wish to react.

“All operators currently at Cross Gris-Nez or on board have the full confidence of the prefect to conduct rescue operations at sea”told AFP the maritime prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea. “The case is following its course and the investigation is not our responsibility”she added, refusing to comment further.

The boat sank in the early morning of November 24, 2021, taking 27 passengers, mostly Iraqi Kurds aged 7 to 46. No one had come to their aid. Neither the French side nor the British side, each believing that it was not their responsibility.

Read our survey: Article reserved for our subscribers Death of 27 migrants in the Channel: the investigators evoke the “non-assistance to person in danger”


These elements, which agree with the declarations of the two survivors, shook the Cross Gris-Nez, in charge of rescue in the Channel, and aroused the “dismay” migrant support organizations. During previous hearings in this investigation, Cross agents had invoked the lack of means, which forced them “to prioritize”.

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That evening, the Cross treated “hundreds, if not thousands of calls”reported one of them. “If at any time there has been a breach, an error, the sanctions will be taken”had also assured, in November, the Secretary of State Hervé Berville, acknowledging his “dread” reading the information published in the press. Ten alleged smugglers, mostly Afghans, have been indicted in the Paris judicial investigation into this tragedy, which has raised tension between Paris and London. But without discouraging applicants to England.

An investigation is also underway across the Channel. British authorities announced at the end of November that they had arrested a man “suspected of being a member of the organized crime group which conspired to transport the migrants to the UK on a small boat”.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers In the Channel, relief in the face of increased risk taking by migrants: “Our boats are not suitable for mass rescues”

The World with AFP

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