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Italy: Right to Information of Persons Subject to Imprisonment

(Aug. 14, 2014) Italy’s Legislative Decree No. 101 of 2014, which enters into effect on August 16, 2014, implements European Union Directive 2012/13/UE concerning the right to information of persons subject to criminal procedures. (Decreto-Legislativo 1 luglio 2014, n. 101, Attuazione della Direttiva 2012/13/UE sul diritto all’informazione nei procedimenti penali [Legislative Decree No. 101 (July 1, 2014), Implements European Union Directive 2012/13/UE Concerning the Right to Information in Criminal Procedures], Gazetta Ufficiale [OFFICIAL GAZETTE, G.U.] No. 164 (July 17, 2014), NORMATTIVA; Directive 2012/13/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2012 on the Right to Information in Criminal Proceedings EUR-LEX.)

Under the new legislation, the Code of Criminal Procedure is amended to establish that officers in charge of ordering the provisional custody of a detainee must provide a copy of the relevant order “written in a clear and precise manner and, with respect to a detainee who does not know the Italian language, a translation into a language that the detainee understands … .” (Decreto-Legislativo 1 luglio 2014, No. 101, art. 1(1)(a)(1); Code of Criminal Procedure (CPP), art. 293(1), ALTALEX (updated to June 26, 2014).) This written communication must contain a reference to the following rights of the arrestee or detainee:

· the right to appoint a defender in which the arrestee/detainee has confidence or to have a government-appointed defense at no cost;
· the right to obtain information on the grounds for the accusation against him/her;
· the right to an interpreter;
· the right to remain silent;
· the right that notice be provided to the relevant consular authorities and to the arrestee/detainee’s family;
· the right to receive emergency medical assistance;
· the right to be brought before a competent judicial authority within five days from the day of detention; and
· the right to respond to an interrogatory before the competent judge and to contest preventative measures. (Decreto-Legislativo 1 luglio 2014, No. 101, art. 1(1)(a)(1).)

The same obligation to provide this written notice is imposed on officers and agents of the penitentiary police. (Id. art. 1(e)(1).) Article 294 of the CPP is also amended to provide that the judge, on his/her own initiative, must verify that the detainee receives the written notice established in article 293. (Id. art. 1(c).)

Legislative Decree No. 101 further amends Law 69 of 2005, which entered into effect on May 14, 2005, to state that a penitentiary police officer who performs an arrest in accordance with the Schengen Information System, must provide to the arrestee the written notice mentioned in Legislative Decree No. 101. (Id. art. 2(1); Legge 22 aprile 2005, n. 69, Disposizioni per conformare il diritto interno alla decisione quadro 2002/584/GAI del Consiglio, del 13 giugno 2002, relativa al mandato d’arresto europeo e alle procedure di consegna tra Stati membri [Law of April 22, 2005, No. 69, Provisions to Make Italian Legislation Conform to the Council Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA of 13 June 2002 on the European Arrest Warrant and the Surrender Procedures Between Member States], G.U. No. 98 (Apr. 29, 2005), NORMATTIVA.)

The Schengen Information System is designed to provide information exchanges between national border control, customs, and police agencies. (Schengen Information System (SIS), European Commission website (last updated Aug. 14, 2013.)