24 June 2019

The Diciotti case: on the vote of Immunity for Salvini “open the case for the conflict of competences before the constitutional court”

Press release – Saturday 22 June 2019, the conference “Contemporary Rights: The Diciotti case” was held in the plenary room of the court of Catania, organized by Fucina Legale and Borderline Sicilia. This conference retraced the incident of the Coast Guard ship carrying 190 migrants on board, which was docked for a number of days in the port of Catania, following the order of Interior minister Salvini.

The participants discussed aspects of international rights concerning rescue at sea (Prof. Fulvio Vassallo Paleologo), perspectives on the criminal code (attorney Leonardo Marino), questions of constitutional rights (Prof. Agatino Cariola) and the violation of norms of the ECHR (attorney Antonella Mascia). This conference shed light on a serious violation of national and international norms related to the order which hindered the arrival of migrants.

The presentation of prof. Cariola emphasized the aspect of the authorization to proceed which was denied by the Senate. Retracing the history of the institution of parliamentary immunity and its applications, the speaker concluded that the formulation of the Constitutional Law 1/89, applied in this case to grant immunity to Minister Salvini, opposes fundamental constitutional principles. It restores the institution of “state reason”, which is absolutely alien to the Italian constitution and negatively impacts the principles of separation of powers. An adoptable solution would be to open a case for conflict of competences before the constitutional court, whose legitimacy would lie in the Public Prosecutor’s Office as the holder of criminal action.

In an historical moment, where the judiciary’s image has been tarnished by scandals, questioning its independence from the economic and political sectors, the opening of a process for conflict of competences would be a sign of redemption for the judiciary. This would raise an important issue to the Constitutional Court concerning the division and autonomy of powers.

The Diciotti case functions as a symbol of governmental actions in progress, perpetrated for propagandistic purposes on the backs of vulnerable people as it is currently happening for the 36 survivors of the Sea Watch 3, who were denied access to a safe port for 12 days.

Even though the government has tried to legitimize such governmental practices through the security decree bis, these maintain serious issues of unconstitutionality and violations of norms deriving from international treaties and the ECHR.

Borderline Sicilia

Catania 24.06.2019

 

Translated into English by Helena Hattmannsdorfer

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