QR DJS KontoTo launch and sustain the project long-term, third parties can support the fund with donations:
Demokratische Jurist*innen Schweiz
Schwanengasse 9
3011 Bern
IBAN CH84 0900 0000 1201 9405 0
Comment «litigation fund»

The unlawful expulsion of asylum seekers under EU migration policy is well documented by media[1] and denounced by human rights organisations[2]. It is proving extremely difficult to sanction those in charge or the violent border guards, whereas both asylum seekers and supporting structures like the civilian sea rescue are increasingly criminalised[3]. Additionally, the practice of systematic pushbacks forces people on the move to take increasingly dangerous routes and to face lethal consequences in order to claim their right to asylum[4]. From 2014 to December 2022, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) registered 25,337 “missing migrants”[5] in the Mediterranean Sea alone. It is against this background that the DJS decided to launch the “Pushback Litigation Support Fund”. Its aim is to offer financial support for legal proceedings related to the violent border policy of the EU and Schengen states, particularly appeals or complaints related to pushbacks, or legal proceedings related to shipwrecks, i.e., ship accidents of people on the move. 

To apply for support, you must be 

  • a legal or another kind of NGO, or a
  • lawyer

A contribution from the fund can cover expenses incurred in relation to a concrete proceeding, e.g.:

  • costs for expert opinions
  • costs for necessary travel
  • costs for the translation of documents, or the interpretation of conversations (if not included in current fix costs)

The application must

  • be submitted per email (Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist vor Spambots geschützt! Zur Anzeige muss JavaScript eingeschaltet sein!)
  • include the completed application form, and corresponding receipts
  • be submitted either before or within three months after making the expenditure (if this requirement cannot be met, this must be justified accordingly)

Usually, the board considers an application during their next meeting after receipt.  The applicants are informed about the date of this meeting beforehand. They will also be informed if the deadline cannot be met or if the board has additional questions.

docxApplication Form

pdfApplication Form PDF


[1] See Ein Dokument der Schande, WOZ, 24 December 2020, in German available at: <https://www.woz.ch/2052/eu-grenzen/ein-dokument-der-schande>; Frontex in der Ägäis: Die Pushback-Agentur, WOZ, 19 November 2020, in German available at: <https://www.woz.ch/2047/frontex-in-der-aegaeis/die-pushback-agentur>; Flüchtlingspolitik: Ein perfektes Verbrechen, WOZ, 21 October 2021, in German available at: <https://www.woz.ch/2142/fluechtlingspolitik/ein-perfektes-verbrechen>; Inside Frontex: Die geheime Datenbank der EU – und was sie damit vertuscht, Republik, 27 April 2022, in German available at: <https://www.republik.ch/2022/04/27/inside-frontex-die-geheime-datenbank-der-eu>; «Vorwürfe bewiesen»: Was im geheimen Frontex-Bericht steht, Republik, 13 October 2022, in German available at: <https://www.republik.ch/2022/10/13/vorwuerfe-bewiesen-was-im-geheimen-frontex-bericht-steht>; Gewalt an der Grenze: EU-Geld für kroatische Schlägerpolizisten, Rundschau, 6 October 2021, in German available at: <https://www.srf.ch/play/tv/rundschau/video/gewalt-an-der-grenze-eu-geld-fuer-kroatische-schlaegerpolizisten?urn=urn:srf:video:95f47608-080a-464a-bfe1-0dde37692b4b>; Illegal ausgeschafft: «Pushbacks» von Frauen und Kindern an EU-Aussengrenze, Rundschau, 23 June 2021, in German available at: <https://www.srf.ch/play/tv/rundschau/video/illegal-ausgeschafft-pushbacks-von-frauen-und-kindern-an-eu-aussengrenze?urn=urn:srf:video:80b987f1-290a-4262-a041-e60044019a57>; Ausgesetzt in der Ägäis: Frontex ist in Pushbacks involviert, Rundschau, 27 April 2022, in German available at: <https://www.srf.ch/play/tv/rundschau/video/ausgesetzt-in-der-aegaeis-frontex-ist-in-pushbacks-involviert?urn=urn:srf:video:5ef84187-7e34-4f40-bda8-448184990621>.

[2] See Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN): Black Book of Pushbacks 2022, 7 December 2022, available at: <https://left.eu/issues/publications/black-book-of-pushbacks-2022/>; Legal Centre Lesvos: Report on collective expulsions in the Aegean Sea, 13 July 2020, available at: <http://legalcentrelesvos.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Collective-Expulsions-in-the-Aegean-July-2020-LCL.pdf>; Legal Centre Lesvos: Crimes Against Humanity in the Aegean, 1 February 2021, available at: <http://legalcentrelesvos.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Collective-Expulsions-in-the-Aegean-LCL-01.02.2021-1.pdf>; Human Rights Watch: Greece: Violence Against Asylum Seekers at Border, 17 March 2020, available at: <https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/03/17/greece-violence-against-asylum-seekers-border#>; Global Legal Action Network: Driftbacks and Torture on the Aegean (undated), available at: <https://www.glanlaw.org/aegean-push-backs>; ECRE: Country Report on Greece, Access to the Territory and Push Backs, 30 May 2022, available at: <https://asylumineurope.org/reports/country/greece/asylum-procedure/access-procedure-and-registration/access-territory-and-push-backs/>; Forensic Architecture: Drift-Backs in the Aegean Sea, 15 July 2022, available at: <https://forensic-architecture.org/investigation/drift-backs-in-the-aegean-sea>

[3] See bordermonitoring.eu e.V.: Incarcerating the Marginalized – The Fight Against Alleged ›Smugglers‹ on the Greek Hotspot Islands, November 2020, available at: <https://bordermonitoring.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/report-2020-smuggling-en_web.pdf>; ECCHR:

Sea rescuers under attack: Iuventa crew criminalized by Italy, available at: <https://www.ecchr.eu/en/case/sea-rescuers-under-attack-iuventa-crew-criminalized-by-italian-government/>; Information on the Captain Support Network: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQd7WKUdFxs> or < https://www.facebook.com/CaptainSupportLegalAid/>.

[4] Article 14 of the Human Rights Act, available at: <https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/human-rights-act/article-14-protection-discrimination>; European Union Parliament: Guaranteeing the right to asylum, available at: <https://www.europarl.europa.eu/about-parliament/de/democracy-and-human-rights/fundamental-rights-in-the-eu/guaranteeing-the-right-to-asylum>.

[5] International Organization for Migration (IOM): Missing Migrants Project, Mediterranean, available at: <https://missingmigrants.iom.int/region/mediterranean>.