(Kai Littmann) – On 6 September 2023, the Italian parliament was supposed to vote on a law that would shorten the statute of limitations for trials, as well as amendments to the law on abuse of office and power and “external participation in mafia activities” (a criminal offence that exists only in Italy) – in order to protect the actors of “il sistema”, i.e. politicians, magistrates and high-ranking personalities. The idea was to be able to drop all proceedings against these groups of people if such a case had not yet received a verdict after three years. Given the fact that “il sistema”, this dangerous collaboration between politics, the judicial system, freemasonry, state-owned companies and organised crime, is able to drag out proceedings at will, this proposed law was a “blank cheque” for these groups of people. The reactions in Italy, from the opposition, constitutional experts and some media were so strong that Giorgia Meloni was forced to postpone the vote. But now “il sistema” is making a massive comeback.
The new project with which “il sistema” wants to protect itself from prosecution is even worse than the draft law that should have been voted on September 6. Now the rulers in Italy want to introduce a rule according to which any case for which there is no first instance verdict after two years will be dropped and if there is no verdict in the second instance, the Court of Appeal, after another year, the case can also be dropped. And that is an incredible scandal. Because “il sistema” has been dragging out proceedings against politicians, magistrates and high-ranking personalities at will for decades, so that they come to nothing. This “strategy” works brilliantly, as in the case of Rosario Leo, presented in this series, whose case has been pending for 28 years without him ever having received a judgement from the Court of Cassation. The attempt to introduce this short statute of limitations today means impunity for all actors of “il sistema” and at the same time, it becomes practically impossible for ordinary citizens to obtain justice.
The numerous corruption scandals currently rocking Italy have forced “il sistema” to act quickly in order to be able to close the many cases against magistrates, politicians and high-ranking personalities. In practice, these groups of people can then no longer be prosecuted, while ordinary citizens who bring cases against such people in court, no longer have a chance of having their cases brought to an end. This weekend, the Italian media reported that Justice Minister Carlo Nordio had agreed with the opposition on this course of action, which means that the “left wing” politicians in Italy also have just as many slanted dossiers as the current rulers, which they would like to sweep under the carpet.
We have asked legal experts whether this approach is compatible with European law and the answers are not uniform. Some are of the opinion that the Italian action is unconstitutional, incompatible with the Lisbon Treaties and therefore invalid, while others consider that this issue only concerns Italy and that the action is therefore possible. So while the legal assessment is still up in the air, it is still unbelievable that the Italian judicial system wants to establish a two-tier justice system where white collar criminals go unpunished, while citizens are virtually denied access to a fair trial. On this complex of issues, the European authorities must now take action, if only to protect companies from other European countries that are active in Italy and may be exposed to the activities of “il sistema”.
What politicians and the judiciary in Italy fear is the collapse of a highly criminal system that is, however, so well set up that they are prepared to protect it. Even if the world is currently preoccupied with other and more pressing issues, it is still unacceptable that Italy should end up legalising organised crime. To be continued.
Already published in this series:
Article 0 – Presentation of the series
Article 1 – ENI – SNAM – Bonatti and the others
Article 2 (special issue) – When crime is legalised…
Article 3 – The structures of organised crime in Italy
Article 4 – The gas pipeline infrastructure in Italy
Article 5 – Justice at the service of organised crime
Article 6 – Nicola Gratteri, a hero of modern times
Article 7 – And what does the European Commission say?
Article 8 – The “Rosario Leo Files”
Article 9 – European money for the mafia!