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CRIME

EU court condemns Italy for neglecting victims of violence

Italy does not do enough to assist victims of violent crime, the European Court of Justice has ruled.

EU court condemns Italy for neglecting victims of violence
Italy does not do enough to help victims of violence, an EU court ruled. File photo: Joe Gratz/Flickr

The country has failed to complete the European Directive by offering “fair and adequate” compensation to victims of violent crimes, judges in Luxembourg said on Tuesday.

According to an EU policy put in place 12 years ago, the compensation must be given to all EU citizens affected by violent crime, by the government of the country where the crime was committed – even if the victims are not from that country. 

The law applied to any intentional violent crime, including bodily harm, sexual assault, violent robberies and murder, if the culprit is not identified or if they are unable to pay damages themselves.

In Italy, separate laws cover compensation for victims of terrorism or organized crime, but in other cases, damages are often only awarded when the victim earned less than €11,000 per year.

However, the judgement on Tuesday ruled that Italy needed to bring its policies in line with the European Directive, in order to avoid discriminating on the grounds of nationality applied to this law.

The court ruling has retroactive effect, so that victims who had previously been denied compensation could sue for damages.

Italy's Ministry of Justice responded to the ruling, saying it had made the “necessary changes” and was ready to “proceed promptly” with claims for compensation relating to crimes committed before the law came into force.

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CRIME

Italy remembers murdered anti-mafia judge Falcone

Italy commemorated the death of Italian judge Giovanni Falcone on Monday, thirty years after the brutal Capaci bombing.

Italy remembers murdered anti-mafia judge Falcone

The entire country paid tribute on Monday to anti-mafia judge Giovanni Falcone, killed by the Sicilian mafia 30 years ago in a car bomb murder that shocked the country.

Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese laid a wreath at the memorial at the site of the blast at Capaci, near Palermo, that killed Falcone, his wife, and three members of his police escort on May 23rd 1992.

Another ceremony in Palermo was attended by Italian President Sergio Mattarella, whose brother Piersanti, then Sicily’s regional president, was also murdered by the mafia.

In a statement, Prime Minister Mario Draghi hailed the legacy of Falcone, saying that thanks to his “courage, professionalism and determination, Italy has become a freer and fairer country”.

He said Falcone and his colleagues – one of whom, Paolo Borsellino, was killed by Cosa Nostra two months later – “dealt decisive blows against the mafia”.

“Their heroism had rooted anti-mafia values in society, in new generations, in republican institutions,” he added, saying the “relentless fight against organised crime and […] the search for truth” must continue.

The mob used a skateboard to place a 500-kilogramme (1100-pound) charge of TNT and ammonium nitrate in a tunnel under the motorway which linked the airport to the centre of Palermo.

Falcone, driving a white Fiat Croma, was returning from Rome for the weekend. At a look-out point on the hill above, a mobster nicknamed “The Pig” pressed the remote control button as the judge’s three-car convoy passed.

The blast ripped through the asphalt, shredding bodies and metal, and flinging the lead car several hundred metres.

READ ALSO: How murdered judge Giovanni Falcone shaped Italy’s fight against the mafia

On July 19th, Borsellino was also killed in a car bomb attack, along with five members of his escort. Only his driver survived.

Falcone posed a real threat to Cosa Nostra, an organised crime group made famous by The Godfather trilogy, and which boasted access to the highest levels of Italian power.

He and Borsellino were later credited with revolutionising the understanding of the mafia, working closely with the first informants and compiling evidence for a groundbreaking ‘maxi-trial’ in which hundreds of mobsters were convicted in 1987.

“Thanks to Falcone and Borsellino, the Sicilian mafia became a notorious fact, not something that had to be proved to exist at every trial,” anti-mafia prosecutor Marzia Sabella told AFP.

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