MSc thesis defence Sascha Pimentel: Pursuing migrant justice in EU sponsored states

Published on
March 31, 2022

You are hereby cordially invited to the MSc thesis presentation by Sascha Pimentel on ‘Pursuing migrant justice in EU sponsored states. Comparing accountability strategies by legal and advocacy practitioners in Morocco and Libya’.

Supervisor: Jeroen Candel

Examinor: Katrien Termeer

Date: 31.3.2022

Time: 09-10.00 hours CET

Location: room C68, Leeuwenborch

Title: Pursuing migrant justice in EU sponsored states. Comparing accountability strategies by legal and advocacy practitioners in Morocco and Libya

Abstract Scholars have shown that holding the EU accountable for migrants rights violations in neighbouring countries as result of the EUs external migration policy is often unachievable, as jurisdiction cannot be established. Moving beyond a focus on EU liability, this study explores whether empirical accountability options exist within these neighbouring countries and how legal and advocacy practitioners strategize to pursue these. To investigate this, a conceptual framework for accountability strategizing was developed, drawing upon and synthesizing concepts from accountability theory and literature on strategic behaviour. A comparative, qualitative case study design was used to study how accountability strategies were affected by different socio-political and legal contexts. Country cases Morocco and Libya were selected based on their difference in state legitimacy, rule of law and political stability, but similarity in their relations to the EU on migration. A twofold research strategy was employed, consisting of a document analysis and semi-structured interviews with 14 legal and advocacy practitioners from Morocco and Libya. Results showed that accountability strategies highly differ between both contexts. While Moroccan practitioners combine a variety of accountability strategies at the domestic level, Libyan practitioners are constrained by contextual factors and largely reorient towards international levels for accountability. Findings suggest that an inquiry into the strategizing process prior to the establishment of accountability relationships allows for a better understanding of constraints and opportunities. Further, it is shown that accountability strategies are highly contextualized and further research is needed to gain broader understanding of what contextual factors constrain and enable strategies and how. Finally, it is suggested that alternative strategies to seek remedies for migrants that do not tick all boxes of accountability as defined within literature, deserve more attention to increase effectiveness of migrant support.

Keywords: accountability, strategizing, migrant protection, EU, migration policy, neighbouring country, externalization, Libya, Morocco, context