Decision of the Court of Cassation, V Criminal Section, No. 38085 of 5 July 2012

The case regards the acts of violence committed against protesters within the “Scuola Diaz” during the 2001 G8 summit in Genoa.  In deciding on certain claims against the judgment of second instance, the Court of Cassation examined two preliminary objections (p. 115-124 of the judgment). The first one was about the fact that the Court of appeal had not repeated the hearing of witnesses before delivering the judgment of conviction that reversed the acquittal of the accused. For the Court of Cassation this circumstance was not inconsistent with the fair trial principle (Article 6 of the ECHR) as interpreted by the European Court on Human Rights. The second objection was about the alleged unconstitutionality of Article 157 of the criminal code, which does not provide that the offense of torture shall not be subjected to statutory limitations. In reality, torture is not prescribed in the criminal code as a specific offense, so that the accused were pursued for the offense of “serious injury”; for the Court of Cassation, their conduct must be described, in reality, as “torture” under the 1984 UN Convention or, at least, as inhuman or degrading treatment ex Article 3 of the ECHR. The fact that acts of this kind are subjected to statutory limitations in Italian law is in breach of Article 3 of the ECHR and Article 117.1 of the Italian Constitution; therefore, new legislative implementing measures are needed.

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