Decision of the Court of Cassation, V Criminal Section, No. 42996 of 14 September 2016


Diritto penale contemporaneo

In 2015, the ECHR Court decided on the case Contrada vs. Italy by ruling that Italy violated Article 7 of the ECHR (nulla poena sine lege) by sentencing the claimant for the offense of ‘concorso esterno in associazione mafiosa’ (‘external contribution to mafia association’). For the ECHR Court this offense, not provided in Italian criminal legislation, resulted from criminal courts’ jurisprudence, which had however developed after the facts of the Contrada case. Based on this decision, the Court of Catania later decided of not prosecuting a person accused of the same offense, arguing that latter did not exist in the legal order at the critical date. Through judgment No. 42996, the Court of cassation annulled the decision, observing, first, that the crime of ‘external contribution to mafia association’ did not originate from case law but results from Article 110 of the penal code read in conjunction with Article 416 bis. Secondly, the facts of the case decided by the Court of Catania were such as to exclude that the criminal proceeding was in violation of Article 7 of the ECHR as interpreted by the ECHR Court.

  • See also:

    Decision of the Court of Cassation, I Criminal Section, No. 44193 of 11 October 2016, Decision of the Constitutional Court No. 49 of 14 January 2015

  • Original language: Italiano