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Italy appeals court upholds police convictions for 2001 G8 summit

[JURIST] An Italian appeals court on Friday upheld the convictions of 15 police officers, prison guards, and medical staff found guilty [JURIST report] of abusing anti-globalization protesters taken into custody during the 2001 G8 summit in Genoa [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. The court also reversed the acquittals [JURIST report] of 29 others. Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] noted [press release] that "the lack of the crime of torture in the Italian criminal code has prevented judges from punishing perpetrators in a manner proportionate to the gravity of the conduct attributed to them," and called on Italian authorities to introduce a crime of torture. None of the convicted will serve any prison time because of the expired statute of limitations for lesser crimes. The director of Amnesty International's Europe and Central Asia Programme nonetheless called the ruling, "an important step towards ensuring accountability for some of the grave human rights violations occurred in Genoa in 2001."

In August, the European Court of Human Rights [official website] ruled [judgment text] that Italy was negligent [JURIST report] in completing an accurate investigation of the death of a protester at the 2001 G8 summit. The court awarded 40,000 euros to the family of Carlo Giuliani, the protester who died after being shot by an Italian police officer as his van was mobbed. On the night of July 21, 2001, police forces conducted a raid on the Diaz school, which was being used as headquarters by some of the protesters. Over the course of the summit as a whole, more than 100 protesters were injured and one was killed. Immediately after the protests and reports of abuse, AI called for a full investigation [press release] into the mistreatment. In July 2006, the group urged the Italian government to institute reforms to prevent future abuses [press release], but said that the government had not done so in the five years since the incident.

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