Thursday, June 23, 2005

Speedy justice

The Italian justice system must be one of the most efficient in the world: we're still sentencing SS officers. Better late than never, I guess.
The Italian judicial system is a shambles (see here, in Italian): an average civil trial lasts 337 days. On first appeal the duration goes to 1338 days (over three and a half years) and the Supreme Court (Corte di Cassazione) receives more appeals in one year than it manages to resolve: the number of pending cases increased this year by 23%. Consequently the average duration of a case heard by the Supreme Court went from 836 days last year to 994 days this year. Even pending criminal trials have gone up by 27.6%, and their duration went from 194 to 261 days. In fact Italy was convicted of breaching the European Convention on Human Rights which enshrines the right to a fair and speedy trial.
It is interesting to note that it is exactly this failure of national institutions that makes the Italians some of the most pro-European people around - we apparently hope that Europe will save us from ourselves (see here, in Italian). I wouldn't hold my breath, but no doubt it will be an improvement.

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