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“In the Vincenzo Vecchi case, the Court of Cassation is our last rampart for the defense of public freedoms”


IThree years ago, two European arrest warrants were issued against an Italian citizen, Vincenzo Vecchi, who has been living peacefully in France for eight years. The first mandate quickly proved to be null and void. There remains the second mandate, which demands that Mr. Vecchi be delivered to Italian justice in order to complete a ten-year prison sentence for devastation and looting.

However, not only does the incrimination for devastation and pillage not exist in our law, but it dates from the Mussolinian regime. Its objective was to prevent any opposition to the dictatorship by allowing the indiscriminate repression of demonstrations.

This incrimination, devastation and pillage, the very name of which is made to frighten, has the characteristic of instituting a crime of passive complicity, which makes it possible to condemn to very heavy sentences, between eight and fifteen years, demonstrators who have found themselves close to the commission of an offence, without their participation needing to be proven. Their mere presence on the premises is likened to a “moral contest”.

Violation of the elementary principles

To clearly explain what it is, Italian justice accuses Vincenzo Vecchi of having found himself near a ransacked convenience store, or of having taken boards from a construction site to erect a barricade… ‘a simple attack on property and not on people, for which he risks ten years in prison.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers Vincenzo Vecchi case: “European criminal policy must be the expression of our principles”

Here we are very far from French law, very far from democratic law. This law of Mussolinian origin directly threatens the right to demonstrate and decisively undermines the most basic principles. Fortunately, two French appeal courts refused to deliver Vincenzo Vecchi to Italy.

The magistrates of our courts of appeal are independent and experienced, so the case, having been judged twice, by two different courts of appeal, should logically have ended there. However, the public prosecutor appealed twice in cassation. This case has now been going on for more than three years. Since all this time, Mr. Vecchi has been subject to the relentlessness of the public prosecutor, who, as a reminder, is under the hierarchical authority of the Minister of Justice, in other words the executive.

Fascist device

Seized again, the Court of Cassation considered the arguments of the Court of Appeal to be relevant and did not reject the pleas [les arguments de la défense] of Vincenzo Vecchi, but it nevertheless requested an opinion from the Court of Justice of the European Union on a few points of law. However, the Court of Justice has issued a worrying opinion, which a priori clearly restricts the power of control of judges. The Court of Cassation, which should rule on October 11, therefore remains our last bastion for the defense of public freedoms.

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