Cestaro v. Italy: The European Court of Human Rights on the Duty to Criminalise Torture and Italy’s Structural Problem

In: International Criminal Law Review

In April 2015, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that Italian legislation is inadequate to criminalise acts of torture (Cestaro v. Italy). Following the ECtHR’s decision, the Italian Parliament approved the bill A.C. 2168 which aimed to introduce the crime of torture (Article 613-bis) in the Italian Criminal Code. The bill does not seem to comply with the definition of torture provided by international law, and also neglects the legislative guidelines outlined by the ECtHR in Cestaro v. Italy. The purpose of this article is twofold. On the one hand, it will assess the ECtHR’s decision focusing on Italy’s structural problem and its duty to enact and enforce efficient criminal provisions under Article 3 of the European Convention. On the other hand, it will analyse the normative content of Article 613-bis in order to highlight its weaknesses and propose, on each of them, suggestions for amendment.