ITALY - Abolitionist
State of civil and political rights: Free
Constitution: 1 January 1948; amended many times
Legal System: based on civil law system; appeals treated as new trials; judicial review under certain conditions in Constitutional Court;
Legislative System: bicameral Parliament consisting of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies
Judicial System: Constitutional Court, composed of 15 judges (a third appointed by the Head of State, a third by Parliament, a third by the ordinary and administrative supreme courts)
Religion: Roman Catholic 90%, other 10%
International Treaties on the Death Penalty and Human Rights:
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
- 1st Optional Protocol to the Covenant
- Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (aiming to the abolition of the death penalty)
- Convention on the Rights of the Child
- Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
- 6th Protocol to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (concerning the abolition of the death penalty)
- European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- Protocol No. 13 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, concerning the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances
- Statute of the International Criminal Court (which excludes the death penalty)
Italy became totally abolitionist in 1994, when the death penalty was abolished from the Military Codes. The 1948 Constitution had already abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes. On October 2, 2007, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano signed the Constitutional Law Bill that removed the last reference to capital punishment from Art. 27 of the Constitution, allowed in cases of martial law.
The bill was voted on by the Italian Senate on September 25, and by the Chamber of Deputies on May 2.
Like its European Union partners, it refuses to send prisoners to countries where they could face the death penalty.
The last execution took place on March 4, 1947 in Turin, where three men from Villarbasse, Giovanni D' Ignoti, Giovanni Puleo and Francesco La Barbero, were shot at a rifle range just outside the city. The three men had been condemned to death by the Turin Court of Assizes on July 5, 1946 (the last death sentence handed down in Italy) for clubbing to death ten people and throwing their bodies down a well while committing a robbery at the farm where they lived, which netted the accused 45,000 Lire each.
Italy has played a fundamental role in promoting on an international level the campaign for a global moratorium on executions since 1994, when it raised the question at the UN General Assembly for the first time, presenting an apposite resolution. The fact that this resolution for a global moratorium on executions was defeated by only eight votes led Italy to present a similar text at the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR), where it has been approved every year from 1997-2004. In 1997 and 1998 the resolution was presented at the Commission directly by the Italian Government; while in 1999 Italy decided to place the resolution in the hands of the European Union.
On December 19, 2016, Italy once again co-sponsored and voted in favour of the Resolution on a Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty at the UN General Assembly.