The protection of civilians in Italy since the Second World War

22 March 1943 - bombings on Palermo - National Archives of the Royal Airforce, Museum of London. 22 March 1943 - bombings on Palermo - National Archives of the Royal Airforce, Museum of London. © W. Rothier-S. Romeo, “Bombings on Palermo, A tale through images, Istituto Poligrafico Europeo, 2017

This paper - written by our lawyer Maria Marinello - presents a brief overview of the instruments for the protection of civilian victims of war in the Italian context.

 

After the atrocities of the Second World War, the International Community wished that the horrors of the past could never happen again. However, despite the strengthening of dialogue among people, the protection of human rights and the growing awareness of the public opinion towards issues of the International Humanitarian Law “there is still a lot to do to allow the seeds planted seventy years ago to produce fruit, in other words a life of dignity and peace for all”. 

In fact, it seems that the recent warlike events are increasingly affecting civilians populations due to precise and strategic choices. That is why it is fundamental to analyse the negative and positive aspects of the past and current legislation on the issue as a starting point for the creation of guidelines for the protection of civilians that can be followed worldwide.  

This is the methodology applied in the present work; first of all, the paper presents a brief overview of the instruments for the protection of civilian victims of war offered by the Italian law system and their transformation through time. Secondly, the author tries to highlight the great work of the Italian courts and their efforts to apply this set of rules at their best, even if they have been adopted from time to time to respond to specific and urgent needs.

Furthermore, this analysis retraces the historic evolution and it brings to light the invaluable contribution of the National Association of Civilian Victims of War (ANVCG) as representative body for the rights of Italian civilian victims since 1943. This association, born to react to the plight of the Italian victims during the Second World War and to assist these victims and their needs, is certainly a central actor in the evolution - legal and non - of the instruments and mechanisms of protection of civilian victims in Italy.   

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