Justice Minister Carlo Nordio

Lower House passes Nordio justice reform bill

News

On Wednesday, the Lower House definitively approved a bill proposed by Justice Minister Carlo Nordio to reform Italy’s criminal justice system. The results were 199 votes in favour, 102 against, and no abstentions.

The bill includes the repeal of the crime of abuse of office and modifications to the wiretapping system. The Senate passed the bill in February.

Nordio stated the elimination of the abuse of office offence would be welcomed by mayors, including those in the opposition. There have been numerous cases – often frivolous or technical – that ultimately resulted in acquittals, he claims.

He added the new law would enable a comprehensive reform of wiretapping to ensure irrelevant sensitive information is not leaked. This would protect individuals not charged with any crime from embarrassment.

Nordio also mentioned a solution would be found for mothers in prison. This followed the right-wing League party’s amendment to prevent pregnant or young mother Roma pickpockets on the Rome and Milan metro systems.

Separate Constitutional bill

In a separate Constitutional bill, Nordio aims to separate the career paths of judges and prosecutors. The separation would prevent them from switching roles throughout their careers.

Opposition parties and the magistrates’ union ANM argue that this measure seeks to bring prosecutors under government control. However, Nordio and Premier Giorgia Meloni deny this intention, saying the independence and autonomy of the Italian judiciary will remain paramount.

Nordio recently celebrated his reform of the judiciary’s career paths calling it a “historic measure” after cabinet approval. He dismissed claims that it was an attempt to increase government power over prosecutors.

“The judiciary is an autonomous professional order, independent of any other power, and consists of magistrates on both the judging and prosecuting career paths,” Nordio said of his Constitutional reform bill, which will likely be subject to a popular referendum.

“We have given Constitutional importance to the fact that a prosecutor’s office is, must be, and will remain independent of any interference by the executive power and any pressure from other bodies. It enjoys, and will continue to enjoy, the same guarantees of independence as a judging magistrate.”

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