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Abstract

In this much-awaited ruling (Order No. 97 of 15 April 2021), the Corte Costituzionale had to decide on the constitutionality of the existing prohibition on release on parole for life prisoners convicted for Mafia-related crimes, in the absence of any cooperation with justice (ergastolo ostativo). This form of life imprisonment without prospect of release had already been deemed in contrast with Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights (echr) in the judgment rendered by the Strasbourg Court in Viola v. Italy (No. 2): on that occasion, the ECtHR invoked a legislative reform of the ergastolo ostativo. In the order at hand, the Corte Costituzionale, instead of formally declaring the unconstitutionality of relevant provisions, resorted to a recently crafted technique to postpone the hearing (until 10 May 2022) so as to give the Houses time to pass new legislation and fix the “systemic problems” outlined by the Strasbourg Court. This contribution aims at offering initial reflections on the use of such technique as an instrument for ensuring the proper implementation of ECtHR judgments in the domestic legal order. For this purpose, after an overview of the ECtHR case law in the field of ergastolo ostativo, it will provide an analysis of relevant proceedings before the Committee of Ministers qua monitoring body of the execution of ECtHR judgments. Finally, a critical appraisal of the reasons militating in favor of and against this technique, from the standpoint of the respect of human rights, will ensue.

Open Access
In: The Italian Review of International and Comparative Law
In: Legal Sources in Business and Human Rights
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Abstract

One of the main characteristics that CBRN agents share is ‘toxicity’, that is their ability to cause harmful effects or even death to those who are exposed to them. As ‘weapons’ to be employed in armed conflict, they are regulated by International Humanitarian Law. The present chapter aims at providing a comprehensive overview of existing rules regulating the use of CBRN weapons: each agent will be tackled in turn, and the content of relevant IHL norms will be illustrated. Methodologically, attention is devoted to pointing out common rules and principles. Upon this basis, the chapter addresses recent CBRN-related technological advances and explores IHL norms applicable to them. The argument is tested according to which IHL norms have to be inserted in a comprehensive and integrated legal approach to CBRN events so as to ensure their effective regulation.

Open Access
In: International Law and Chemical, Biological, Radio-Nuclear (CBRN) Events
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The issue of lethal autonomous weapons systems (laws) goes to the heart of the debate on new warfare technologies: States, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and civil society at large have long been discussing the acceptability of ‘autonomous killing’. The present contribution zooms in on the position held by the Holy See, exploring its content and the main arguments which support the call of a ban on such technology. Both diplomatic statements and doctrinal teachings will be tackled. Importantly, a solid argument for a prohibition of laws is based on the moral unacceptability of autonomous killing, which may assume also a legal standing through the so-called Martens Clause. The history and the actual content of the Clause will be analyzed in order to explore whether – and to what extent – it can be interpreted so as to offer a legal ground for rejecting laws. It will be argued that the Holy See is in a particularly fit position to advocate for a renewed appraisal of the Martens Clause that may help the pro-ban front to structure a more principled debate.

In: Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies