Order of the Judge for preliminary investigation of the Court of Milan 10 July 2017

The Judge for preliminary investigation at the Court of Milan rejected a request of dismissing the indictment of Marco Cappato for the offense of ‘istigation or assistance to suicide’ (Article 580 of criminal code). Cappato was accused to have strengthened the suicide plan of Fabiano Antoniani, better known as ‘DJ Fabo’, who was affected by a very serious paralysis. Most in particular, the accused had suggested him the possibility to receive assistance for suicide in Swizerland and had later accompanied him to a Swiss hospital to realize his suicidal intent. As a first step, the Judge affirmed that Italy had jurisdiction over the case. On the merits, it is observed in the order that allowing medically assisted suicide for terminally ill persons would result, possibly, in a ‘vulnus’ to equality. In the Italian legal order there are no provision recognizing a ‘right to suicide’ or a ‘right to die with dignity’. With regard to the decision of the ECHR Court on the case Pretty v. UK of 2002, the ruling of the Court that suicide falls in the scope of the individuals’ self-determination not necessarily implies a legal duty of the States parties to the ECHR to allow medically assisted suicide under their domestic legislation.