The Lodo Alfano was an Italian law ( No. 124 /2008) with the official name Disposizioni in materia di sospensione del processo penale nei Confronti delle old Cariche dello Stato, translated rules for suspension of criminal proceedings due to a high government office. The law was declared in October 2009 to be unconstitutional. The bill was presented by the Minister of Justice Angelino Alfano and approved by the Council of Ministers on 26 June 2008 "with the aim of protecting the absolute necessity of continuity and regularity in the performance of other public functions". On 22 July 2008, the Law of the chambers in the second reading by 171 votes in favor, 128 No and 6 abstentions was decided. Giorgio Napolitano, the President of Italy, has with the laws announcement also explained his reasons that led him to sign the law immediately, even though the law caused many quarrels and the Constitutional Court has a similar law, the Lodo Schifani, had declared unconstitutional.
After the similar Lodo Schifani was abolished, a new law had to be developed to provide the highest offices in Italy immunity. This time, however, only the first four offices were protected: The President, the Senate President, the President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies and the Prime Minister. The law was named after the Minister of Justice Angelino Alfano, who had also proposed the law. The Lodo Alfano differs in several minor respects from the previous law, such immunity has been limited to the duration of the legislature, and it is possible (despite immunity) to conduct civil actions for damages.
The law consists of eight paragraphs.
- Suspension of criminal trials of the four highest offices of the land:
- Waiver of the suspension:
- Acceptance of non- displaceable evidence: Even if the process is suspended, the judge may proceed, if circumstances arise in which a shift is not possible. It is in this article to back that the law has no general influence on the process.
- Statute of Limitations: According to the stay of proceedings, the limitation period is extended equally.
- Duration of Suspension: The suspension lasts for the entire duration of the term of office and is not renewable. The only exception is when one is elected in the same legislative session. According to the declaration report for this special rule was created because the four offices have different terms.
- Transmission in a civil proceeding: In the event of suspension, there is the opportunity for the plaintiffs to perform the procedure civil.
- Transitional arrangements:
Immediately after the adoption of the draft law, the trial of the British lawyer David Mills ( initially sentenced to 4.5 years in prison ) has been set. Co-defendant was the Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, as he had allegedly made payments to David Mills to move him to silence with respect to various offshore activities. This coincidence of events increased the opposition protests. The Senator Stefano Ceccanti the party PD had especially pointed out before the final vote, that the law is in conflict with the Constitution, Articles 1 and 3 ( equality of all citizens before the law ). The party Italia dei Valori, however, has emphasized that the law also covers violations that are out of the office - it is committed - even before taking office.
By the majority of middle / right parties, the law was, however, welcomed, especially by Prime Minister Berlusconi. He defined the Lodo Alfano as follows: "The law at issue [ ... ] is the minimum, which can make a democracy in order to protect their own freedom " and "[ ... ] necessary in a legal system such as ours in which some judges work, which, instead of simply apply only the law, also imagine to their actual role within a moral order ".
In July 2008, a document called was signed " For the defense of the constitution" of more than 100 studied constitutional law.
On January 7, 2009, a million signatures were submitted to the Court of Appeals, according to the organizers, who called for a referendum on the abolition of the law. The signature collection began on 30 July 2008, a week after the law was passed, and was approved by the party Italia dei Valori - performed - with the support of Refoundation and Sinistra Democrática.
Similar schemes in other countries
The Lodo Alfano, in which the suspension of criminal proceedings is provided for the duration of the term of office, a unique position in Europe dar. Normally, only the parliamentarians granted political immunity, specifically limited to the exercise of the functions and not for the private sector - the organs that exercise, however, enjoy no relief in this sense. In some countries ( Greece, Portugal, France), the head of state or the royal families enjoy absolute immunity, but never the Government (except France).
Judgment on the constitutionality
On 26 and 27 September 2008, the Milan prosecutor Fabio De Pasquale has raised doubts about the constitutionality, both for use in the process because of TV rights by Mediaset as well as for the trial of David Mills, in which both Silvio Berlusconi was also indicted. The judges of both processes a complaint to the Constitutional Court a request for an opinion on the constitutionality of the Lodo Alfano.
In June 2009, two Constitutional Court judges, Luigi Mazzella and Paolo Maria Napolitano, in the center of arguments, since they had attended a dinner along with Silvio Berlusconi and Angelino Alfano, even though they knew to have to decide in the autumn on the law. In addition Mazzella Minister was of public service in the second period of government of Berlusconi and called him an "old friend ".
In view of the impending judgment, the Bar Association of the state had once again released a 21-page explanation of why the Lodo Alfano was necessary. The state of fear that the highest politicians no longer could rule with the necessary use if they had to be in court too often, or that the politicians would have to resign, which damages the continuity in Parliament. In addition, trials against politicians would be so media attention that the defendants could no longer focus on governance.
On 7 October 2009, the law was challenged before the Constitutional Court as unconstitutional (9 votes to 6 ) as it violates Articles 3 and 138 of the Italian Constitution. The judgment was taken as an attack on the Prime Minister and to the democracy of the middle / right parties. Umberto Bossi immediately wanted to organize a popular uprising and threatened " to march with the weapons ." Silvio Berlusconi called the court "left". The left parties were pleased with the verdict and were shocked by the tone of the angriffslustigem Premiers. The President Giorgio Napolitano other hand, has taken the side of the court and accepted the verdict without comment.
Cases in which the applied Lodo Alfano
- Silvio Berlusconi (Prime Minister) Process for bribery of the lawyer David Mills
- Trial for a very serious libel ( on television against the so-called Cooperative horses and the Camorra )
- Process for the purchase and sale of television rights (possibly tax evasion )
- Gianfranco Fini (President of the Chamber of Deputies ) In October 2009, Fini has waived the protection of the Lodo Alfano. He had publicly attacked the ex- prosecutor of Potenza, Henry John Wood Cook on the television program Porta a Porta. Out of respect for this decision Woodcook has withdrawn the complaint.