Rats paralyze Italian justice system

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The rats have made their home in the pipes of the court. Rat photo: Shutterstock
12:20 CET+01:00
A rat infestation has been discovered at Rome’s Court of Appeal, polluting the water and prompting a number of hearings to be brought to a halt.

The rats have made their home in the pipes of Piazzale Clodio, breaking the air conditioning, heating system and rendering the water undrinkable.

As a result the court is winding down its work schedule for at least 30 days, while the vermin visitors are exterminated, Il Messaggero reported on Tuesday.

“It’s necessary to reduce the number of court sessions to the minimum, above all the cases which involve a lot of people,” Luciano Panzani, president of the court, said in a note circulated to staff.

A “massive rat extermination job” will be carried out, Panzani said, reassuring employees that neither they nor the public were in danger.

The rat infestation was first discovered on November 6th, when the air conditioning stopped working in the court’s offices on Via Romeo Romei. The same buildings host a number of judges’ offices, courtrooms and a coffee bar, Il Messaggero said.

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The decision to reduce the number of court hearings adds a further hurdle to those seeking justice through the notoriously slow Italian legal system.

In Italy it take an average of 2,866 days to go through the three tiers of justice, compared to the OECD average of 616 days. Appeals in Italy take 1,113 days on average, whereas the process takes 43 days in Portugal and 179 days across the OECD nations.

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