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Italian Senate Votes to Outlaw Genocide; Ignores Objections

The Italian Senate, after a short debate and over the objections of the government and of several Communist deputies, adopted today a law to outlaw genocide which would allow the authorities to grant the extradition of persons accused in another country of genocide.

The government, which favored a genocide law in keeping with Italy’s ratification in 1951 of the International Convention to Outlaw Genocide, said it considered genocide a political crime and, under the terms of the Italian Constitution, would not be an extraditable offense. In this, the government was supported by several Communist deputies.

However, a Socialist deputy, Sen. Pletro Caleffi, rose to call genocide “the most abominable of crimes which must not be enabled by defining it as a political offense.” His view carried the day. The law provides 12 to 30 year sentences for persons convicted of genocide by Italian courts.