Armed drones at Sigonella: Legal issues and tensions between right to life protection, transparency obligations and military strategy

11.01.2019, 09:30 Uhr
Universitá di Catania
Via Gallo, 24, 95124 Catania, Italy

More than 550 attacks were carried out by the United States in Libya in the past 7 years. As published last June by La Repubblica, The Intercept, Airwars and New America, such attacks are carried out by US armed drones departing from the Sigonella military base, in Sicily.

Despite the alarming data, the involvement of the military base of Sigonella and, therefore, of Italy in the US drone program has begun, and continues today, in the absence of adequate parliamentary and public debate in this regard.

Following the conclusion in 2006 of the Technical Arrangement on Sigonella between the United States and Italy, the subsequent agreements that have made the Sigonella base the 'home' and the take-off point of the US drones, armed or not, have not been made public or preceded from debate in Parliament.

For several years, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights has been involved in projects concerning the program of targeted killings and attacks by armed drones of the United States of America. In particular, ECCHR is undertaking specific initiatives in order to shed light on the involvement of European countries, such as Italy and Germany, through their military bases, in the US drone program, from which they can derive legal implications and (possible) responsibilities to title of complicity.

The event will be in Italian and English with simultaneous interpretation.
Please note that you do not need to register for the event.


9:30-10 am    Welcoming speeches

Francesco Basile, President of theUniversity of Catania
Roberto Pennisi, Head of the Law Department, University of Catania
Giovanni Grasso, Professor of Criminal Law, University of Catania
Giuseppe Provenza, Amnesty International

10-11:30 am    Panel 1 – Inquiries on Sigonella and its role in the "global war on terror"


Andreas Schüller, Head of the International Crimes Accountability Program, ECCHR

Lisa Ling, former military drone technician, whistleblower, USA
Gianluca di Feo, Journalist and Deputy Director of La Repubblica, Italy
Melissa Salyk-Virk, Policy Analyst for the International Security Program, New America,USA
Oliver Imhof, Journalist, Libya Researcher, Airwars, UK
Elham Saudi, Lawyers for Justice in Libya (tbc)

Coffee Break

12-1:30 pm    Panel 2 – The drone program of targeted killings and its profiles of illegitimacy under international and criminal law

Chair: Anna Maria Maugeri, Professor of Criminal Law and Coordinator of PhD in Law,University of Catania

Andrea Saccucci, International Law Professor, Catholic University of Milano and Attorney in the “Lo Porto” case
Fiammetta Borgia, Post-doc Researcher, International Law, University of Roma 2, Author of the book “L’uso militare dei droni. Profili di diritto internazionale”
Chantal Meloni, Professor of International Criminal Law, University of Milano, and ECCHR Legal Advisor, International Crimes and Accountability
Jennifer Gibson, Head of the Drones and Kill List Project, Reprieve, UK
Lunch Break

3-4:30 pm     Panel 3 – The role of Italy in the drone program and its responsibility

Chair: Chantal Meloni, ECCHR and UNIMI

Delina Goxho, Consultant on Armed Drones and Targeted Killing Project, Open Society Foundations
Francesco Vignarca, National Coordinator of Rete Italiana Disarmo
Diego Mauri, Post-doc Researcher, Drones and Autonomous Weapons, University of Firenze
Member of Italian Parliament/Defence Commission (tbc)

5-6:00 pm    Panel 4 – Sigonella military base in the Italian constitutional legal order

Chair: Nello Papandrea, Administrative lawyer
Agatino Cariola, Professor of Constitutional Law, University of Catania
Rosario Sapienza, Professor of International Law, University of Catania
Antonio Mazzeo, Researcher, Author and freelance Journalist


The event is not fully booked. Please note that you do not need to register for the event.
The event will be in Italian and English with simultaneous interpretation.


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