Back Italy: Reform of review mechanism of whole life sentences aiming at aligning with ECHR judgment

22 March 2023
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In its Decision of 10 March  the Committee of Ministers noted with satisfaction the reform of the Prison Administration Act (Article 4 bis) which introduced the possibility for prisoners who fail to cooperate with the judicial authorities to be eligible for release on parole, in response to the indications of the European Court and the previous call of the Committee in Marcello Viola (No. 2) v. Italy.

The Committee underlined the importance of ensuring that the established system is practical and effective, as required by the Convention under Article 46, and provides a genuine evaluation of the prisoners’ progress towards rehabilitation, and reasonable prospects to meet the stringent conditions required.

To carry out a comprehensive assessment of these central aspects, the Committee invited the Italian authorities to provide, by 30 September 2023, information on the concrete functioning of the review mechanism concerning life sentences and examples of relevant judicial decisions, addressing also, in this context, the concerns raised by civil society.

The Committee also expressed its confidence that the domestic courts will be guided in their interpretation and application of the new legislative provisions by the requirements of the Convention and the European Court’s case-law in this area. In this connection, it reiterated that the possibility of review implies the possibility to apply for release on parole, but not necessarily to be released.

 Country factsheet for Italy