Napolitano to be called to testify in State-Mafia trial
Order raises eyebrows among Italian political leaders17 October, 17:52
A member of a parliamentary constitutional affairs commission questioned the constitutionality of the court decision.
The court set limitations on what Napolitano can be asked to testify about.
The court also accepted to call Senate Speaker and former national anti-Mafia prosecutor Pietro Grasso to testify, along with almost all of the prosecution's other witness requests.
In May the court ruled that Napolitano could not be questioned on information found in wiretaps that were destroyed after the president successfully petitioned at the Constitutional Court in December that Palermo prosecutors had exceeded their powers in keeping them.
This means he will not be asked to talk about four conversations he had with Nicola Mancino, a former interior minister and Senate Speaker, between November 2011 and May 2012.
Mancino has been charged along with 11 other people in relation to alleged negotiations to stop a series of Cosa Nostra bomb attacks in the early 1990s that claimed the lives of anti-Mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino in 1992, among other people.
Mancino is accused of perjury.
He denies this.
Napolitano successfully argued at the Constitutional Court that the Italian Constitution forbids prosecutors from investigating the head of State unless he is suspected of high treason or attacking the Constitution itself.
The wiretaps should have have been destroyed immediately, the court ruled.
“I have not read the motivation. Before (commenting) I would like to read the documentation. But it certainly leaves me a little perplexed,” Cancellieri said.
“It seems rather unusual to me,” she added.
A component of the Chamber constitutional affairs commission, Deputy Renato Balduzzi - member of the centrist Civic Choice party - questioned the constitutionality of the Palermo court order.
“I can’t not manifest, as a constitutionalist, concerns about the Palermo judges’ compliance with the Italian constitution,” said Balduzzi. “Sentence number 1 of 2013 of the Constitutional Court obtained...heightened protection for the President of the Republic’s freedom of communication, (deemed) necessary to ensure the serene conduct of his constitutional role. It seems difficult to reconcile the duty to testify with the pronouncement of the Constitutional Court, except in extreme cases,” Balduzzi added.
Napolitano’s press office wrote in a note the president was “waiting to know the entire text of the order...to evaluate it with maximum institutional respect”.