Domenica, 15 Settembre 2019
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ROME

Minister admits Italian justice system is 'struggling'

English
© ANSA

Rome, January 21 - Justice Minister Anna Maria
Cancellieri admitted Tuesday that Italy's judicial system was
"suffering" despite the good work of the country's magistrates.
Italy is frequently reprimanded by the European Court of
Human Rights (ECtHR) over the amount of time it takes Italian
courts to reach verdicts.
Furthermore, in May the ECtHR set Rome a one-year deadline
to find a solution to chronic overcrowding in Italy's jails.
Italian prisons are more than 15% over capacity and
overcrowding is a factor in high suicide rates.
"The system is struggling despite the response of the
Italian judiciary, which came first in terms of productivity in
the latest EU report on justice efficiency," Cancellieri said in
the Lower House Tuesday.
"Higher workloads (in terms of criminal and civil cases)
and greater scope of action for the magistrates are at the
origins of the slowness of the verdicts and fears that the
overexposure of the judiciary can alter the delicate balance
between powers of the State".
The minister said that Italy's courts were faced with over
eight million outstanding cases in June 2013, 5.2 million civil
ones and almost 3.5 million criminal ones.
As for overcrowding, she said moves to grant early release
for less serious crimes and the use of alternative punishments
to jail had helped reduce the prison population.
She said there were 62,326 inmates on January 9, compared
to 64,056 on December 4.
President Giorgio Napolitano has repeatedly called for
amnesties to help improve conditions in Italy's jails.
Cancellieri said this would made it possible for Rome to
respond to the demands of the ECtHR but said parliament had to
decide.
Reform of the justice system is a divisive issue in Italy,
in part because of the legal problems of three-time premier
Silvio Berlusconi, who says he is the victim of a campaign by
left-wing elements in the judiciary to wipe him from the
political arena.
Centre-right leader Berlusconi was ejected from parliament
last year after a tax-fraud conviction was upheld by the supreme
court, making it the media magnate's first definitive conviction
in two decades of legal battles.
Berlusconi is also appealing convictions for having sex
with an underage prostitute and abusing his power to cover it
up, and for involvement in the publication of an illegally
obtained wiretap.
He has been indicted for allegedly bribing a Senator to
change political sides too.
Cancellieri stressed that the problems should not be used
as an excuse.
"The current condition of difficulty that the justice
system is in should not enable the mistaken conviction that
things cannot improve to prevail," the minister said.
"Nor should it provide alibis for immobility. We can all
contribute so that the optimism of willpower beats the pessimism
of reason".

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