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In un articolo del 14 Novembre, The Economist si esprime sulla nuova proposta di legge del Governo Berlusconi che modifica i tempi del processo, giudicandola un “bizzarro tentativo di Silvio Berlusconi di mettere in difficoltà le corti” e paventando la possibilità che tale modifica possa far diventare l’Italia “una società senza legge ancor più di quanto non lo sia già”. Un giudizio piuttosto duro, quello che giunge dalle pagine del settimanale britannico, da cui però risulta difficile difendersi.
Qui sotto, l’articolo che trovate pubblicato qui.
IF YOU live in Italy and are planning to commit a moderately severe crime—perhaps beating your children, or a white-collar offence such as cooking the books, or even stabbing your neighbour—the law might soon be of little hindrance to you. If a bill tabled in parliament this week were to become law, it would mean you could commit any of the above offences and could expect a reasonable chance of avoiding paying a penalty.
The proposed law, which is backed by Silvio Berlusconi’s conservative government, suggests that the charges against defendants would have to be dropped two years after they were laid unless, by then, the trial has been completed. The same two-year limit would be applied to both of the appeals to which defendants (and prosecutors) are subsequently entitled under Italian law, meaning that the complete legal process would have to be complete within six years.
In a court system that is overloaded, underfunded and renowned for inefficiency, the chances of completing each of the three stages in less than 24 months are low. The proposed law, which would apply to trials already being held, excludes from its provisions defendants with a criminal record, offences for which the penalty is a jail sentence of 10 years or more, and certain serious crimes such as those related to terrorism or the mafia. But the corporate body that represents Italy’s judges and prosecutors says the law’s effects would be “devastating”. It estimates that more than 100,000 trials would have to be scrapped.
In addition, the proposed law would have effects beyond Italy’s borders. It would apply, for example, to copyright violation, bribery, the marketing of counterfeit goods and the defrauding by Italians of EU funds. One of the trials it would halt stems from the 2003 Parmalat fraud whose victims include foreign as well as Italian bondholders.
The law sounds like madness, but not if you are Mr Berlusconi. Last month the constitutional court overturned a law that had been introduced by his government that gave him (and three other senior officials) immunity from prosecution. Italy’s prime minister is already a defendant in two trials, for tax fraud and bribery, and other investigations are ongoing. If the bill were approved by parliament, where his coalition has a substantial majority, it would cancel both the trials and make it very likely that any charges brought against him in future would be ‘timed out’.
In any case Mr Berlusconi appears not to be taking any chances. On Wednesday, one of his MPs tabled another bill that would restore the immunity that all Italy’s national lawmakers enjoyed until 1993. Either or both of the proposed laws could run into stiff resistance if referred to the constitutional court. But their introduction makes it ever more likely that the rest of Mr Berlusconi’s time in government will be dominated (as was his previous spell) by his legal struggles.
All this will prove to be an unhelpful distraction from more important matters, such as trying to get Italy out of recession and to deliver much-needed economic and social reforms. Mr Berlusconi’s supporters argue that introducing time limits will promote swifter justice. Maurizio Gasparri, the leader of his party in the Senate and the bill’s main sponsor, suggests that “if the magistrates worked harder, trials would be quicker”. But he acknowledges that they also need better resources and says that funding for the courts will be increased in the 2010 budget.
Even if the government were to deliver on that promise, it will take years to undo the decades of neglect to which Italian justice has been subject. In the meantime, if Mr Gasparri and his leader have their way, Italy would become an even more lawless society than it is already.
(da The Economist.com)
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