Presconferentie in het Europees Parlement met parlementslid Maurizio Turco: "Electorale hervorming in Italië: een schending van Europese regelgeving en rechtspraak van het Europees Hof voor de Rechten van de Mens"

Renate Weber, liberaal Europarlementslid voor Roemenië en Maurizio Turco, Italiaans parlementslid voor de Radical Party, nodigen u graag uit op de persconferentie:

 "Electorale hervorming in Italië: een schending van Europese regelgeving en rechtspraak van het Europees Hof voor de Rechten van de Mens"

Woensdag 28 November 2012 van 15h tot 15h30, Europees Parlement, zaal ASP 5G2, Brussel. 

Voor meer info: 
Federica Terzi, press officer: +32 2 28 32 324 or +32 494 18 88 31
Matteo Angioli, coordinator van de Brussels Antenna of the Radical Party: +32 479 545666

Letter by Maurizio Turco, Member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies and former Member of the European Parliament, to the Council of Europe.

Mireille PAULUS, Secretary to the Committee of Ministers

Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe

Jean-Claude MIGNON, President of the PACE

Wojciech SAWICKI, Secretary General of PACE

Sir Nicolas BRATZA, President of the European Court of Human Rights

Nils Muižnieks, Commissioner for Human Rights

Gianni Buquicchio, President, Venice Commission


Rome, 2.10.2012 

Subject: plans on the part of the Italian Republic to violate the fundamental principles on the consolidation of democracy through the electoral process

On Tuesday 18 September, the Conference of Presidents of Parliamentary Group of the Senate of the Italian Republic «urged the Constitutional Affairs Committee to continue, in the next two weeks, the examination of proposals for electoral reform»1. The current 16th Parliament of the Italian Republic is set to expire on April 29, 2013, and the next legislative elections will take place within seventy days from that date. 

The European Court of Human Rights, in the judgment of June 11, 2009 against Bulgaria promoted by Petkov and others, included among the «relevant international documents» the «Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters (Guidelines and Explanatory Report)» 2, adopted by the European Commission for Democracy Through Law (“Venice Commission”) on October 18-19, 2002 and subsequently approved by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe – which constitutes, in the Commission’s words, quoted by the Court, «the core of a code of good practice in electoral matters» – and in particular, as «relevant», the following principle:

«The fundamental elements of electoral law, in particular the electoral system proper, membership of electoral commissions and the drawing of constituency boundaries, should not be open to amendment less than one year before an election, or should be written in the constitution or at a level higher than ordinary law»

In virtue of the fact that: «Stability of the law is crucial to credibility of the electoral process, which is itself vital to consolidating democracy. Rules which change frequently – and especially rules which are complicated – may confuse voters. Above all, voters may conclude, rightly or wrongly, that electoral law is simply a tool in the hands of the powerful, and that their own votes have little weight in deciding the results of elections»3.

If passed into law, a reform of the Italian electoral system would inevitably clash with the afore- mentioned principle, since the electoral reform would be approved just about six months before the next general election. The last reform of the Italian electoral system (entered into force with Law 21 December 2005, no. 270) did violate the “code” adopted by the Venice Commission, since the elections of April 9-10, 2006 took place just over three months afterwards. These repeated violations of European and international law are an integral part of an authentic crime flagrancy against Rule of Law and democracy in Italy – which has been condemned «since the 1980’s» for the «structural problem» of the «excessive length of judicial proceedings», «which caused numerous and various violations of the European Convention on Human Rights»4.

The highest Italian national authorities – despite their «full and direct responsibility»5 for «violations of the Convention resulting from excessive delays in the administration of justice» which «constitute a serious danger for the respect of the rule of law, leading to the denial of the rights enshrined in the Convention»6 – persist in what is, indeed, a long-standing violation of the Italian Constitution, in virtue of which the law should «[ensure] the reasonable duration» of «any [judicial] proceeding» (art. 111.2). The last admonition on the “justice” issue in Italy came only a few days ago, through the Report of the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Nils Muižnieks. 

The Commissioner said he is «seriously concerned about the excessive length of court proceedings in Italy, a long- standing human rights problem, which has considerable negative repercussions not only for individuals and the Italian economy, but also for the European human rights protection system due to a continuing influx of cases to the European Court of Human Rights»7

Your sincerely,

Maurizio Turco

Press release of the Senate of the Italian Republic dated September 18, 2012, on the occasion of the 795th public session (afternoon). 
2CDL-AD (2002) 23 rev.
4 Interim Resolution DH (2007) 27.
5 Interim Resolution DH (2000) 135.
6 Interim Resolution DH (2010) 224.
7 Comm DH(2012)26.