Patrizio Gonnella

History, nature and inconsistencies of the institutional debate which led to the approval of the new Italian law criminalizing torture

Are you already subscribed?
Login to check whether this content is already included on your personal or institutional subscription.


Torture is a crime against humanity. The word «torture» can bear its meaning only within the semantic field of public power. Through the history of its international legal prohibition, this article aims at proving that torture can only be committed by State authorities. The article also intends to illustrate the Italian political debate on torture criminalization since 1948. For almost thirty years, Italy has not complied with the un Convention Against Torture. Only very recently the Italian Parliament approved a law introducing the crime of torture in the national criminal code. However, the kind of offence determined by the new law is vague and unclear, also owing to the explicit pressure by law enforcements. The criminal offence created by the legislator is not shaped by the principle of taxativity. Consequently, the role of judges and commentators will be crucial for taking back the offence in its natural normative and philosophical field.


  • Torture
  • Constitution
  • International Law
  • Interpretation
  • Legal Culture


Article first page

Trova nel catalogo di Worldcat