- Title: ITALY: Magistrates protest Berlusconi's planned justice reforms
- Date: 31st January 2010
- Summary: ROME, ITALY (JANUARY 30, 2010) (REUTERS) (CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY) VARIOUS OF MAGISTRATES ENTERING THE COURT WEARING CEREMONIAL GOWNS AND MANTLES VARIOUS OF THE COURT ROOM, CHAIRMAN ADDRESSING AUDIENCE MAGISTRATES HOLDING A COPY OF THE ITALIAN COSTITUTION MAGISTRATES STANDING UP AND LEAVING THE COURTROOM AS A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ITALIAN GOVERNMENT STARTS SPEAKING MAGISTRATES WALKING OUT OF THE COURT ROOM (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) LUCA PALAMARA, PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MAGISTRATES SAYING: "It is a protest to express our discontent with the absence of right reforms and about the frequent attacks carried out by influential institutions against the judiciary." MAGISTRATE DELIVERING COPY OF THE ITALIAN COSTITUTION (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) EVELINA CANALE, PRESIDENT OF THE CROWN COURT OF ROME SAYING: "I think that the Government is planning reforms which do not have anything to do with citizens' interests and with the efficiency of the judiciary system."
- Embargoed: 15th February 2010 12:00
- Location: Italy
- Country: Italy
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAF40AQSQ6U33JXXMR10EYOFRWI
- Story Text: Italian judges walk out of the judicial year inauguration ceremony in protest of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's planned judiciary reform.
Italian magistrates walked out of the inauguration of Italy's judiciary year on Saturday (January 30) to protest against the planned radical justice reform.
The National Association of Magistrates, of which most of the country's 9,000 judges and prosecutors are members, say the planned reforms will limit magistrates' independence. The reforms would give parliament power to set the agenda for prosecutors and as such will be unconstitutional, the magistrates say.
"It is a protest to express our discontent with the absence of right reforms and about the frequent attacks carried out by influential institutions against the judiciary, Luca Palamara, President of the National Association of Magistrates said.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been accused of bribery, tax evasion and false accounting, charges which he denies. Berlusconi was stripped of his immunity from prosecution by the Constitutional Court's ruling in October last year.
One of the government's intended reforms would shorten the time period allowed for trials and effectively end some of the pending legal proceedings against Berlusconi.
"I think that the Government is planning reforms which do not have anything to do with citizens' interests and with the efficiency of the judiciary system," Evelina Canale, President of the Crown Court of Rome said.
While Italians want a reform of their inefficient judicial system, the opposition says Berlusconi's real aim is to regain his own immunity and be shielded from upcoming trials.
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