Berlusconi Immunity Law Decimated by Court
Italy Constitutional Court Strikes Down Key Parts of Berlusconi Immunity Law
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi introduced a law that would protect top government officials (read: him) from prosecution for 18 months, under the rationale that elected officials were too busy with their public duties to appear in court.
However, the Constitutional Court struck down the part of the law that automatically shields elected officials (read: Berlusconi) from prosecution, leaving the decision up to the judges. This means that the two current trials involving Silvio Berlusconi can resume, and they may be joined by a tax fraud trial.
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The court hedged its bets by not striking down the Berlusconi-backed legislation entirely, instead kicking the can down to the judges involved in individual trials.
The law was approved in March 2010, but prosecutors in Milan challenged the constitutionality of the measure, saying it should be judges, not politicians, who determined whether someone had time to attend court.
It is the latest in Berlusconi's saga as he fights for his political life.
In December, he survived the no-confidence motion in Italy's lower house by just three votes. On the same day, he also secured a more comfortable victory in a confidence vote at the senate.