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Capital punishment
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Contents

History

In Italy, the first pre-unitarian state to abolish the death penalty was the Grand Duchy of Tuscany as of November 30, 1786, under the reign of Pietro Leopoldo, Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II. It was the first civil state in the world to do away with torture and capital punishment.

However, the death penalty was sanctioned in the codes of law of all the other pre-unitarian states, therefore when the Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed in 1860, legislation was divided, since the death penalty was legal in all of Italy except for Tuscany.

Afterwards the death penalty was definitively abolished in the Penal Code in 1889 with the almost unanimous approval of both Houses of Parliament under suggestion of Minister Zanardelli.[1] However executions in Italy had not been carried out since 1877, when King Umberto I granted a general pardon (royal decree of pardon of January, 18 1878). The death penalty was still present in military and colonial penal codes only.

In 1926, it was reintroduced by the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini to punish those who made an attempt at the royal family and for various crimes against the state. The Rocco Code (1930, in force from July 1, 1931) added more crimes to the list of those punishable with the death penalty, and reintroduced capital punishment for some common crimes.

The last people executed for civil crimes were three robbers, also convicted of murder, who battered and threw into a well ten people (while still alive) on a farm near Villarbasse (province of Turin) in 1945. The president, Enrico de Nicola, declined to pardon them, and they were executed by a firing squad on the March 4, 1947 in the prison of Basse di Stura near Turin. This was the last execution in Italy.

The Italian Constitution, approved on December 27, 1947 and in force since January 1, 1948, completely abolished the death penalty for all common military and civil crimes during peacetime. This measure was implemented by the legislative decree 22/48 of January 22, 1948 (provision of coordination as a consequence of the abolishment of capital punishment). The death penalty was still in force in Italy in the military penal code (though no execution ever took place) until law 589/94 of October 13, 1994 abolished it completely from there as well, and substituted it with the maximum penalty of the civil penal code. In 2007 a constitutional amendement was adopted. Article 27 of Italian Constitution was changed to fully ban the death penalty.

Prior to abolition, the death penalty was sanctioned in article 21 of the Italian penal code, and subsequently abolished. It stated that Death penalty is to be carried out by shooting inside a penitentiary or in any other place suggested by the Ministry of Justice. The execution is not public, unless the Ministry of Justice determines otherwise.

A draft law to ratify the 13th Protocol of the European Convention on Human Rights had been approved by the Senate on October 9, 2008 (was approved earlier by the Chamber of Deputies on September 24).[2] It got ratified on March 3, 2009.[3]

Public opinion

Italy has since developed a stance strongly against capital punishment. Fewer than half of Italians approved of the 2006 execution of Saddam Hussein. Italy proposed the UN moratorium on the death penalty, which urges states to establish a moratorium on executions with a view toward abolition and urged states around to world to approve it. Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema also stated that the next step was to work on abolishing the death penalty.

See also

  • Death penalty in Pre-unitarian Italy

References

  1. ^ Indro Montanelli; Storia d'italia, vol 6, pag 215
  2. ^ Draft law
  3. ^ Ratified protocol

Notes

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