Justice Update – Migrant traffickers on trial in Europe

Kidane Zekarias Habtemariam who the Dutch want extradited from the UAE on human trafficking charges (photo politie.nl)

The arrests of two Eritrean men extradited to Italy and the Netherlands have shed light on the work of a Joint Team looking into crimes against migrants in Libya. The men were accused of being part of a network that trafficks migrants from Ethiopia and Eritrea to Libya and then to Italy and Northern Europe. Part of the network’s revenues come from ransom that they ask from the families of migrants, who they held in Libya until more money is paid. In these detention centres migrants often experience torture, rape, and other human rights abuses. 

Stephanie went to the procedural opening of an alleged Eritrean trafficker known as Welid in the provincial town of Zwolle (very pretty place, but not a usual crimes against humanity spot for us). She asked Gerben Wilbrink spokesperson for the Dutch Prosecutors Office about the link to the Netherlands. 

Via our Italian connection, we got an insight into the investigations that led to the arrest and extradition of another alleged trafficker Ghebremedin Temeschen Ghebru to Italy. Our producer Margherita Capacci interviewed public Prosecutor Giorgia Righi who told her more about the cooperation behind the case and the specific charges that Ghebru is facing.

As the ICC officially joined the Joint Team in September 2022, Janet could get hold of Nicole Samson, senior trial lawyer and head of the Libya Unified team. Alongside the ICC, there’s Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom Spain and – most importantly – Europol. Samson discusses the details of how this cooperation developed and how it relates to ICC investigations into the armed conflict in Libya. 


This podcast has been produced as part of a partnership with JusticeInfo.net, an independent website in French and English covering justice initiatives in countries dealing with serious violence. It is a media outlet of Fondation Hirondelle, based in Lausanne, Switzerland.