Amnesty International welcomes the fact that the Italian magistrates have held individuals accountable for the brutalities that occurred in the Bolzaneto detention facility in Genoa, Italy.
“This is a good first step towards accountability for the human rights abuses that occurred during the G8 summit in Genoa, but more needs to be done to ensure that the whole truth emerges and that those responsible are held fully accountable for their actions” Amnesty International said.
On 14 July 2008, 15 people were found guilty of, amongst other things, ill-treating protestors detained in the Bolzaneto detention facility during the G8 summit in Genoa in July 2001, and of abuse of office. The sentences handed down by an Italian court ranged from five months to five years. Those sentenced included police officers, prison guards and doctors. They are expected to appeal against the guilty verdicts. It is unlikely that any of those sentenced will actually serve time in prison because criminal liability for their offences will have expired under Italy’s statute of limitations by the time the appeal process is completed. Another 30 defendants were cleared of charges, including assault.
Amnesty International is concerned, however, that torture is not criminalized in the Italian Criminal Code. This means that no one could be prosecuted for torture in connection with the events even if the ill-treatment the protestors suffered may have amounted to torture.
Since the events in Genoa in 2001, Amnesty International has received several reports of police ill-treatment and excessive use of force by law enforcement officials in Italy. The organization, along with several UN bodies, including the UN Committee Against Torture, has repeatedly called on the Italian government to put into place effective mechanisms of accountability for reported human rights abuses by law enforcement officials.
“Accountability for human rights abuses committed by state officials, including law enforcement officials, must be the norm. The Italian authorities must implement the recommendations of the relevant international bodies and organizations to this effect in order to prevent such events happening further,” Amnesty International said.
Background On 20-22 July 2001, the Italian city of Genoa hosted a G8 summit. It is estimated that over 200,000 people participated in anti-globalization demonstrations on the streets of Genoa. By the end of the summit, one protester, Carlo Giuliani, had been shot dead and hundreds of people had been injured during clashes with law enforcement officers.