The Maritime Court of Piraeus has mandated that the investigation into the events that resulted in tragic death of migrants near Farmakonisi, causing major controversy in Greece and beyond. The order essentially ends the judicial investigation into the possible liabilities of Coast Guard officers in relation to the death of eight children and three women from Afghanistan.

According to survivors of the tragic incident, a Coast Guard vessel approached the boat carrying migrants off the coast of Farmakonisi on the 20th of January. The migrants claim that the Coast Guard vessel tugged their boat towards Turkey and due to the high speed some of the passengers went overboard.

One survivor, who lost his wife and three children in the sinking, claims that a Coast Guard officer kicked a migrant in the head who was trying to save a woman from drowning. The survivors have also accused the Coast Guard officers of threatening them to not report any of the alleged incidents.

The court decision has angered human rights groups, some of which are demanding that a new investigation be launched, while considering an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. Lawyers of the human rights groups stress that due process was not followed in the investigation in an attempt to cover up the Coast Guard’s failures.

The European Commissioner on Human Rights Nils Muiznieks addressed a letter to Greek authorities, arguing that they “have to take more resolute efforts to ensure accountability for this tragedy” and that “Impunity risks covering these serious human rights violations. This would be a grave mistake”