Order of the Court of Cassation, III Criminal Section, No. 20636 of 30 April 2014

This order of the Court of Cassation followed the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case Varvara v. Italy, in which the European Court ruled that the confiscation of illegal buildings may not be ordered – as a further penalty under Article 44.2 of the decree of the President of the Republic No. 380 of 2001- if a verdict of conviction for the related offense may not be pronounced because of statutory limitations. In the European Court’s view, under said circumstances, the confiscation would be contrary to the principles enshrined in Article 7 of the ECHR and the protection of property rights under Article 1 of the First Protocol. For the Court of Cassation, however, this founding is inconsistent with certain fundamental principles of the Italian Constitution, i.e. the protection of the environment and landscape, the right to health and even the principle under which certain limits may be imposed on the protection of property in order to protect collective interests. As a consequence, the Court of Cassation asked the Constitutional Court to decide on the conflict between Article 44.2, as interpreted by the European Court of Human Rights in the light of the ECHR, and the Italian Constitution.