19 June 2019

The Diciotti Case: June 22nd convention at the courthouse in Catania

Contemporary law: the Diciotti case. Rules of the right to rescue at sea – constitutional law 1/1989 and limitations – ECHR protection

The story of the Diciotti, an Italian coast guard ship carrying 177 mostly Eritrean migrants, who were prevented from landing in Sicilian ports for about 10 days last August, has split public opinion.

The case was the focus of investigations by the judiciary culminating in a request by the ‚Court of the Ministers‘* to the Senate to direct legal proceedings against Matteo Salvini, the interior minister. The request was rejected in a Senate vote on March 20th 2019.

Was the Diciotti affair a serious violation of norms or a legitimate government action? To what extent can rights recognised in the constitution and international treaties be restricted for the pursuit of political interests? Are there constitutional limits to ministerial immunity from prosecution?

Regarding the Senate vote refusing to authorise the proceedings, the president of the Constitutional Court, Lattanzi, spoke of a possible conflict between institutions in this case. What does such a conflict look like?

These questions must be answered through careful examination of what happened, of the law and, in particular, of the constitutional provisions.

This is the goal we set ourselves for this conference, in which the story of the Diciotti ship will offer the opportunity to explore the issues of domestic and international law around sea rescue and the rights of rescued people; the possible remedies, in particular in the case of violation of ECHR norms, and the aspects most relevant to constitutional law.

We will examine the conflict between the constitutional provisions protecting the right to personal freedom, in particular article 13 which prohibits depriving a person of their freedom for political purposes, and the constitutional law 1/1989 which guarantees ministerial immunity who have “acted for the protection of a constitutionally relevant state interest or for the pursuit of a prominent public interest in the exercise of the function of government ”.


Fucina Legale 

Borderline Sicilia


Date: June 22nd 2019, 9-11am

Location: Aula delle Adunanze, Palazzo di Giustizia di Catania, Piazza Verga


Prof. Fulvio Vassallo Paleologo

“Sea rescue, Italian jurisdiction and international law”

Leonardo Marino (lawyer)

“The Diciotti case: criminal elements”

Prof. Agatino Cariola

“Ministerial immunity under constitutional law 1/1989

and the constitutional rights guaranteed”

Antonella Mascia (lawyer)

“Violated rights of migrants: ECHR protection”



Marcello Marina, lawyer, president of Fucina Legale


Sebastiano Papandrea, lawyer, vice-president of Fucina Legale


FREE COURSE – 3 credits

Accredited by the Catania Bar Association (Ordine degli avvocati di Catania)

Contacts and info: [email protected]


*Court of the Ministers (it. Tribunale dei Ministri): specialized section of the Ordinary Court of Law for crimes committed by the Prime Minister and the ministers in the exercise of their functions.

Translated by Amica Sciortino Nowlan

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