Keywords: Military Justice, Penal code, Liberal Italy, Constitutionalism, Disciplinary effort.
The essay deals with a crucial aspect of Italian juridical and institutional history, that
is the relationship between the military and the civilian justice system. The article analyzes
the Italian military penal codes issued in 1859 and 1869 in order to question the idea
that the Italian military justice was exceptionally merciless, unconnected with criminal
law, and disrespectful of the Constitution. The genesis of the military codes is reconstructed
through parliamentary proceedings and final reports to the king in order to stress
the fact that the military codes were part of a general reform of Italian criminal law in
light of the 1848 Constitution principles. Simultaneously, the essay reconstructs the debate
on military justice among both civilian jurists and officers in order to show the different
attitudes towards the role of military justice in the disciplinary effort directed against
the rank and file.