Decision of the Court of Cassation, VI Criminal Section, No. 30780 of 27 July 2012

The Court of Cassation rejected the appeal of the Public Prosecutor against the judgment through which the Court of Asti had pronounced the dismissal of the proceeding against two prison officers accused of ill treatment, because the offense was prescribed. For the Court of Asti, the conduct of the accused persons had to be qualified, in reality, as “torture” under the UN Convention of 1984; however, since this crime is absent in Italian legislation, the accused persons had been pursued, originally, for the offense of abuse of family or household members (Article 572 of the penal code, which the Court of Cassation has deemed applicable also within the prison community); and, at a later stage, for the offense of abuse of authority against arrested or detained persons (Article 608 of the penal code). Unfortunately, as the Court of Cassation noted, these crimes are both prescriptible, and were prescribed in the present case.