ITALY HAS VIOLATED ARTICLES OF ECHR
The Financial Times - March 17, 2012
from Marco Perduca *
Sir, Emma Bonino, Timothy Garton Ash and other European dignitaries (“Focus on implementing the last round of ECHR reforms”, Letters, March 13) have rightly signalled a worrying proposal put forward by the British government to amend the European Convention on Human Rights, to “ease” the work of the Strasbourg court, which has been clogged by all sorts of cases from virtually all member states of the Council of Europe. Opposing such a scenario, they aptly emphasise the need for some countries to adopt all necessary measures to redress the violations of the European Convention and name, among others, Italy.
For more than 20 years in fact, Italy has been systematically violating those ECHR articles concerning prison conditions, migrant and minority rights and, most of all, the unreasonable duration of civil and criminal proceedings, making Italy, with almost 10m ongoing trials, a professional criminal vis-à-vis its obligations before international norms. The Strasbourg court is, and should remain, a court of last resort, but because of its crucial role, it should actually be strengthened and not limited in its scope to make its sentences automatically applicable by member states as, in ratifying the ECHR, they have devolved important aspects of their national jurisdiction concerning human rights to a supranational jurisdiction.
The British proposal goes also against what was stated by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on March 13, which, among other things, put Italy once again under special scrutiny for its administration of justice, which is actually undermining the very concept of fair trial and due process for an entire continent. David Cameron, the UK prime minister, who has always demonstrated particular attention and a proactive stance to international affairs, should consider the extremely negative continental repercussions of his neo-nationalistic ideas.
(*) Senator, Radical Party