In 1992, Italy passed a law to compensate people who had contracted viruses, including HIV and hepatitis, because of botched blood transfusions. The compensation was made up of a fixed sum and a regular allowance.
For many victims, the monthly allowance helped pay for treating serious health problems caused by their conditions.
However, these amounts were cast into doubt by a complex legal debate over whether the compensation should be adjusted for inflation.
In 2010, the government ended inflation-adjusted compensation after thousands of victims tried to apply for it.
But Italy’s constitutional court said the new law was unfair because it treated infected blood victims differently to those harmed by the Thalidomide drug, who had a recognised right to inflation-adjusted compensation.
The authorities did not react to the ruling. As a result, victims who were previously entitled to an annual revaluation either lost their adjusted payments – amounting to around €200 per month for some people – or discovered that court decisions in their cases were effectively ignored. Others waiting for decisions found that their applications were suddenly dismissed or rejected.
162 people – victims or their loved ones – turned to the European Court of Human Rights for justice.