Practice Relating to Rule 158. Prosecution of War Crimes
Italy’s IHL Manual (1991) provides:
War crimes … are punished by the military penal code applicable in times of war, and international cooperation for the pursuit, arrest, extradition and punishment of the persons who have allegedly committed [such crimes] is established.
Italy’s Wartime Military Penal Code (1941) provides for the punishment of various offences related to wartime activity.
In its third periodic report to the Committee against Torture in 1998, Italy referred to allegations of violations committed by members of Italian armed forces participating in a multinational peacekeeping operation in Somalia in 1993 and 1994, and stated:
76. Thorough and complex investigations are currently being carried out by various Italian judicial authorities in connection with the acts of violence committed by Italian soldiers in Somalia. Four such investigations are currently in progress at the Public Prosecutor’s Office attached to the Court of Livorno.
77. As regards the proceedings for alleged torture suffered by a Somali man arrested at Jhoar and the alleged rape of a Somali woman by soldiers at a roadblock in Mogadishu, a probatory hearing was arranged so as to have the testimonies of the victims and a witness collected directly by the judge. Expert examinations are being carried out to ascertain the after-effects of the violence on the victims and also to see whether they corresponded to the photographs published by a weekly journal. The expert work is now in progress. Investigations are also being continued in the other two proceedings.
78. The Public Prosecutor’s Office attached to the Court of Milan, for its part, is diligently continuing its investigations regarding an alleged case of carnal violence committed by an Italian soldier in Mogadishu.
79. By means of a decree dated 9 February 1997, the Preliminary Examination Judge of the Court of Leghorn ordered that the case based on the facts denounced by Abdi Hasn Addò be filed. Addò had accused Italian soldiers of having shot and killed three Somalis in a car on 3 June 1993. But the investigations showed that on the day in question the soldiers had been engaged in a military operation known as “Illach 26” that was taking place in another part of Somalia from that indicated by Addò.