Decision of the Court of Cassation, I Criminal Section, No. 43696 of 14 September 2015

The Court of Cassation reputed that Italy had jurisdiction in respect of the Serbian Republic (as a successor State of the former Yugoslavia) in the proceeding concerning the deliberate shooting down by members of the Serbian Army of an Italian helicopter participating in an EU monitoring mission in 1993. From hence, the death of five persons (four Italians and one French). Based on the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the facts qualified as a ‘war crime’ (while an illicit attack against protected persons does not qualify as a ‘crime against humanity’, if committed in isolation). For the Court of cassation, evidence had been reached in the proceeding that the entire chain of command was guilt for that crime. Given this, the Court reputed that the Serbian Republic did not enjoy immunity from civil jurisdiction, and ruled that it was severally liable with the convicted persons to pay compensation. This sentence is in application of the principles laid down in decision No. 238 of 2014 of the Constitutional Court, where it is asserted that Italy cannot recognize the jurisdictional immunity of the States for acts consisting in war crimes or crimes against humanity; and this despite the contrary ruling of the International Court of Justice in its decision of 2012 (Jurisdictional Immunities of the State, Germany v. Italy), which the Constitutional Court declared not applicable in Italy.

  • See also:

    Decision of the Constitutional Court No. 238 of 22 October 2014; Judgment of the International Court of Justice, 3 February 2012, Jurisdictional Immunities of the State (Germany v. Italy: Greece intervening)

  • Original language: Italiano