Rome

Criminal cases awaiting trial in Italy up 2.2% in 2012

Trials, appeals becoming much longer, says report

Criminal cases awaiting trial in Italy up 2.2% in 2012

Rome, January 23 - Trials have become longer in Italy while the total number of cases in the courts rose last year, says a report on the country's justice system released Wednesday. The report on the administration of justice, presented to Italy's parliament, said that in 2012, the total number of pending criminal cases increased by 2.2% compared to the previous year. It also found that the length of time for the judicial process to unfold in criminal courts has been increasing in recent years, rising to an average of 342 days in 2011 from 326 days in 2010. In the Court of Cassation, Italy's top appeals court, procedures averaged 218 days in 2011, compared to 204 in 2010. The greatest "bottleneck" in the system was found in the Court of Appeal, where a case could linger for a whopping 947 days on average in 2011, compared with 839 in 2010. Meanwhile, proposed judicial reforms aimed at improving efficiency could lead to savings of about 55 million euros for the 2012 budget year, and about 95 million euros in each subsequent year, the report estimates. And a draft law on alternative sentences could effect about 2,800 prisoners immediately and boost efficiency in future, the report said.

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