Criminal justice reform gets final approval

Package aims to speed up system, necessary for EU cash

(ANSA) - ROME, SEP 23 - The Senate on Thursday gave the final green light to the government's reform of Italy's criminal justice system, approving it with 177 votes in favour and 24 against.
    The package, aimed at speeding up the system, had already been approved by the Lower House and is now the law of the land.
    The EU made the granting of COVID-19 Recovery Plan funds conditional on Italy speeding up its notoriously slow criminal justice system and revamping the civil system too.
    The reform, drafted by Justice Minister Marta Cartabia, sets limits on the time it can take to rule on first appeals and on cases at the supreme court.
    It caused considerable tension within Premier Mario Draghi's coalition before a compromise was reached at the end of July.
    It effectively waters down a reform passed by Alfonso Bonafede, a 5-Star Movement (M5S) lawmaker who was the justice minister in ex-premier Giuseppe Conte's two coalition governments from June 2018 until the start of this year.
    Bonafede's reform puts the statue of limitations on hold after the first-instance ruling in order to stop criminals getting off because their cases get timed out due to the slowness of the legal system.
    The judiciary's self-governing body, the CSM, said a huge number of cases would end up being shelved if the Cartabia reform had been approved in its original form.
    The M5S demanded changes to the reform to stop this happening, which led to a compromise in which crimes regarding the mafia, terrorism, sexual violence and criminal association are handled under a different regime. (ANSA).
   

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