National Implementation of IHL
Kappler case, Military Court of Rome, 20 July 1948
Kappler, Sentenza n. 631, del Tribunale Militare Territoriale di Roma, in data 20.07.1948

Military Court of Rome
Il Foro Italiano, 1949 (II), pp. 160-168.
(last accessed on 30.08.2013)

The judgment, which was upheld by the Military Supreme Court on 25 October 1952 and served as a precedent for the recent proceedings against Erich Priebke, referred to various aspects of IHL.

As regards the legality of the attack in question, which was carried out by a group of Italian partisans, the judgment stated that the perpetrators did not fulfill the conditions necessary to be considered as legitimate belligerents, as set forth in Article 1 of the Regulations Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, annexed to Hague Convention No. IV of 18 October 1907. However, the Court deemed that the group was operating under the authority of the Italian government, which was therefore held responsible for the attack. While Germany, as the occupying power, had the right of reprisal, the Court considered that such reprisal was unlawful as the conditions of proportionality and necessity had not been fulfilled.

The judgment did not refer to the notion of war crime and defined the Ardeatine Caves massacre as a multiple murder.

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application/pdf 203 KB Kappler case - Decision of 20 July 1948 [it].pdf