Thursday, 9 June 2011

Italy threatens to take Brazil to international court

Brazil's Supreme Court has ruled that it would not extradite an Italian fugitive Cesare Battisti. Upon hearing the announcement, Italy said it will go to the international court in The Hague to have Brazil's decision overturned.

The decision, made last year by Brazil's former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, was upheld by the court, who ordered Battisti's immediate release from prison in Brasilia. Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi expressed "great regret" over Brazil's decision, adding that it "denies justice to the Italian people and in particular to Battisti's victims".

Battisti, a former left-wing rebel escaped from an Italian jail in 1981, while awaiting trial for four murders in the 1970s. He has always denied the charges, but was convicted of murder in absentia in 1990.

Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said the country “plans to activate immediately every possible judicial mechanism... in particular through The Hague international court." He added that Italy would, "seek to overturn the decision that it holds is not in accordance with...the requirements of international law".

Nine of Brazil's Supreme Court judges voted 6-3 to uphold Lula's decision and deny the extradition. The ruling complies with a bilateral treaty therefore it is thought that Italy does not have legal footing to challenge the decision.

Speaking about it, however, Frattini said the verdict "appears to breach international agreements between the two countries, as well as the profound and age-old blood and friendship ties".

Sources: BBC NEWS, Reuters, CBN News

For more news and expert analysis about Brazil, please see Brazil Focus.

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