With its decision Contrada v. Italy (2015), the ECHR Court ruled that Italy was guilty of violating the legality principle under Article 7 of the ECHR because of the conviction of Bruno Contrada for the offense of ‘concorso esterno in associazione mafiosa’ (i.e., the conduct of supporting mafia association without participating in it in proper sense). This decision was grounded on the fact that the offense of ‘concorso esterno’ became clear in all its constituent elements trough some developments in Italian jurisprudence not before the judgment of the Court of Cassation of 1994 on the Demitry case and that the national proceeding had involved acts done by Contrada at an earlier date. In the judgment No. 53610 of 2017, the Court of Cassation examined whether this decision of the ECHR Court was relevant to another case, which similarly involved the qualification of certain facts as ‘concorso esterno’ and, more in general, whether the ECHR Court’s judgments have effects vis-à-vis Italian courts in the event that decisions taken by the latter and inconsistent with a subsequent ruling of the ECHR Court have become final.
Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, IV Section, 14 April 2015, Contrada v. Italy; Decision of the Court of Appeal of Caltanissetta 18 November 2015; Decision of the Judge for preliminary hearing of the Court of Catania No. 1077 of 21 December 2015