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Italian Parliament to Debate Two Strong Bills Banning War Crimes

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The Justice Ministry presented to the Italian Parliament today a bill to bar application of the constitutional ban on extradition for political crimes to persons charged with genocide. Under the present law, many German ex-Nazis have used Italy as a haven in their flight from trial on war crimes charges in Germany. A two-third Parliamentary majority will be required to approve the bill.

At the same time, a draft of a bill to enact an Italian law, in support of Italy’s 1952 ratification of the United Nations Convention Against Genocide, was distributed today in Parliament. A parliamentary commission drafted the bill this summer.

The Italian anti-genocide bill would provide severe punishment for all forms of aggressive acts against ethnic, racial, national and religious groups when such acts are clearly meant to destroy the target group either partly or completely. Crimes listed in the bill include enforced living conditions likely to cause partial or total destruction of the affected group, deportation, impeding or restricting the fertility of the group by sterilization, forcibly taking children from their parents, and enforcing the wearing of discriminatory devices by persecuted groups.

The penalty for conviction of such crimes would be long prison terms up to life imprisonment if the victims perish as a result of the crime. There is no capital punishment in Italy.

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