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9 - Preserving Rights and Protecting the Public: The Italian Experience

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 July 2011

Carlo Guarnieri
Affiliation:
University of Bologna
Mary L. Volcansek
Affiliation:
Texas Christian University
John F. Stack, Jr
Affiliation:
Florida International University
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Summary

Throughout the 1970s, Italy was struck by a wave of terrorist attacks. Undoubtedly, at that time Italian terrorism was the most active of any country in Europe, and not surprisingly, it made a deep impact on the judicial system; the growth of judicial power in the 1980s and 1990s is strongly linked to terrorist activities in the 1970s. The fight against terrorism has deeply involved courts and the judiciary and ultimately influenced the way the judicial system has later confronted other criminal phenomena like organized crime and political corruption. None of these developments can be understood without considering the structure of the criminal justice process. Much of the success of Italy's fight against terrorism has been ascribed to its original criminal justice process, to its quick adaptation to the new challenge, and to the resulting strength of judicial powers.

Today, Italian terrorist groups, although always dangerous, seem to be largely dismantled. A stronger threat seems to be from international terrorists, especially Islamist groups, although so far no significant attack from international terrorists has occurred in Italy. Whether the Italian judicial system is still as effective as it has been in the past cannot yet be assessed.

THE ITALIAN JUDICIAL SYSTEM: ITS TRADITIONAL SETTING

In the late 1960s, before terrorism became a national emergency, Italian criminal justice was organized according to the European semi-inquisitorial style typical of the French Napoleonic tradition. The Code of Criminal Procedure enacted by Napoleon in 1808 influenced Italy and several other civil law countries (Damaska, 1986).

Type
Chapter
Information
Courts and Terrorism
Nine Nations Balance Rights and Security
, pp. 169 - 180
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2010

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