Forced evictions in Milan: EveryOne Group sends a report to the International Criminal Court of the Hague

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

“The people who authorized these evictions in the freezing cold weather without the offer of alternative lodgings will come under investigation for crimes against humanity”.

On January 21st eighty makeshift shelters were bulldozed by the Milanese authorities. The huts were razed to the ground along with their contents: blankets, winter clothes, stoves for heating and essential medicines. The forced eviction took place in Via Sant'Arialdo, near the Chiaravalle Abbey, where about 150 Roma citizens, including children, pregnant women and sick people (many of them with cancer, heart problems, and handicaps) were thrown out onto the street and forced to set off on a tragic march to nowhere.

On the morning of January 28th, 2010, the co-presidents of EveryOne Group, Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau delivered this report to the magistrates of the International Criminal Court of the Hague.

“Fortunately – after noticing the municipal police patrols driving up and down – many of the families left the settlement before the clearance began in order to avoid being charged for squatting and suffering the humiliation of the ethnic profiling that other families have been subjected to.

However, their homes, makeshift shelters made from wood, plastic and cardboard, no longer exist”. Ninety-five Romanian Roma were charged with illegally occupying a plot of land and are undergoing mass expulsion as the authorities have ordered them to leave the city: a reminder of the way the Roma were forced to leave centuries ago and during the pre-Holocaust years.

According to EveryOne Group, we are talking about intolerable violations of a person's fundamental rights and only a serious legal action can prevent the continuation of these clearance operations.

“For this reason” say Malini, Pegoraro and Picciau”, as a organization working in defence of minority groups, we have taken our complaint to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court of the Hague. Our report claims that the actions being carried out by Milan's local authorities are crimes against humanity consisting of forced evictions, failure to offer assistance, bodily harm, and mass expulsions”.

In the report EveryOne Group sent to the Hague, we read “the Court defines crimes against humanity any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the
attack. In particular the Statute that regulates the Court's decisions identifies crimes against humanity: extermination, which according to article 7 of the Rome Statute includes the intentional infliction of conditions of life, inter alia the deprivation of access to food and medicine; deportation or forcible transfer of population; persecution - the intentional and severe deprivation of fundamental rights contrary to international law by reason of the identity of the group or collectivity; the crime of apartheid.”

“We sincerely hope” conclude the co-presidents of EveryOne Group, “that actions of this kind, that are undermining the integrity and the dignity of vulnerable human beings are severely punished by the judges and condemned by all the international legal organs.

A copy of this report has also been sent to the offices of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the President of the European Commission and the EU Commissioner for Human Rights.

Hoping, even sincerely hoping, is not going to get us anywhere and the problem is that there are even European Parliament resolutions passed against Italy to have its authorities refrain from such actions and what has happened? Italy and its municipalities have thumbed their noses at the Parliament and the Council. It is a farce and no one has the slightest inclination to do anything for and on behalf of the Gypsy. We should have noticed that by now.

While the idea of sending a report to the ICC may be a good idea the fact is that in all truth and honesty it is a waste of time and things other than this might be much more appropriate.

I hate to be a cynic but I doubt that the ICC judges will even look at the report. If it does not get filed under “G” for “garbage” then it will be shelved somewhere to gather dust. Let no one hold his breath and expect something to happen. Blue in face is not good color unless you happen to be in Avatar.

© 2010