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Renzi vows sweeping justice reform

Positions 'calcified' after 20 years of left-right clashes

24 February, 15:23
Renzi vows sweeping justice reform (ANSA) - Rome, February 24 - Premier Matteo Renzi on Monday promised a sweeping reform of Italy's slow-moving justice system, which he said was sometimes lenient, by the end of June.

In a speech seeking the confidence of the Senate, the new premier said clashes between left and right since ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi came to power 20 years ago had led to "calcified" positions. Giving one example of the peculiarities of the present three-tiered system, Renzi noted that a drunk driver who kills someone gets the same sentence as a petty thief.

"All this must change," he said.

Justice reform to speed and simplify the system while bolstering defence rights has been proposed by several Berlusconi-led governments but stymied by the magistrates the three-time premier says are persecuting him on ideological grounds.

The billionaire media magnate, who has been banned from office after a tax-fraud conviction, is appealing a sentence for sex with an underaged prostitute and on trial for allegedly bribing a Senator to switch sides.