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Home arrow newsitems arrow ECHR to influence Italy's Prime Minister Election after Hearing on controversial Ban of Berlusconi ?

ECHR to influence Italy's Prime Minister Election after Hearing on controversial Ban of Berlusconi ?

Автор ACM
Среда, 22 Ноябрь 2017
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*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- ECHR is practically due to decide, in the Next few Months, indirectly but surely,  who will be Italy's next Prime Minister, (See Infra), if one believes Polls which show a Majority, in the forthcoming Elections of Spring 2018, for a Center-Right Coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi, whose British/Italian Lawyers have just Fired, Today at a Hearing in Strasbourg, a series of Strong Legal Arguments against a Controversial Decision, taken by a Hostile Political Majority back on 2013, through a Retroactive Measure, to "Ban" him from being Elected, regardless of People's wish, until 2019.

 

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The Problem is that, in such a particular case, ECHR canNot Avoid at all to Inevitably Play an Important Role vis a vis the Forthcoming Italian Elections of Spring 2018, because, whatever might, eventually, be its Decision, (f.ex.: Reject, Acceptance, or Delay in Judging Berlusconi's claim about alleged Violations of Human Rights, including Electoral rights), at any case, Strasbourg's EuroJudges will certainly Affect, in one way or another, the Public Opinion, and therefore, the Voters, (See Infra)...


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During ECHR's Public Hearing on one of the Complaints lodged by Berlusconi against the Electoral "Ban" which has striped him of his Senator mandate and Hinders him to participate in the Spring 2018 Elections, several EuroJudges raised More Questions than usually, mainly to the currently Center-Left Italian Government's Agents, not only on the "Retroactivity" of that Controversial Measure, but, Particularly, on alleged Abuse of Discretionary Power by the Governing Majority, (quite Similar back on 2013, when the Decision to "Ban" Berlusconi was taken, and Nowadays on 2017), as the Former Long-Time Prime Minister's Lawyers Denounced, (See Infra).


And a Surprizing Fact, which Emerged at Today's Hearing in Strasbourg, is that the Center-Left Italian Government's Agents, astonishingly, didN't even Reply, Anything at all, to those EuroJudges' Questions about alleged Abuses of Discretionary Power, reportedly Committed, back on 2013, by those who pushed to "Ban" Berlusconi (while they did Reply to Other, Different ECHR's Questions) ! On the Contrary, his Italian and British Lawyers, prefered now, (in Addition to the "Retroactivity" and/or "UnFairness" of that Controversial Sanction), to Mainly Focus, precisely, at that Risk of gross "Arbitrariness" in the Decision-Making Process of those Electoral "Bans", on which they Concluded, (See Infra)...


However, CoE's PanEuropean 47 Member States-strong Organisation for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law's various relevant bodies, are, recently, more and more Clearly Stressing the Need for Legal Guarantees against such Risks of Arbitrary Decisions. Including, Recently, CoE's prestigious "Venice Commission" for "Democracy through Law"'s Top Constituitional Law Experts, who have Published an Official "Check-List" for the "Rule of Law", which includes, mainly, a series of Standard Legal Safeguards, deemed Necessary in order to Prevent any eventual "Abuse of Discretionary Power", Endorsed Both by CoE's Committee of Ministers, its Congress of Local/Regional Authorities, and its Parliamentary Assembly, etc. (See, f.ex.: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coeruleoflawchecklistandeuroforaproject.html + ...).


--------------


But, the Way that Italy is due to be Governed in the foreseable Near Future, i.e. from Spring 2018, has, Nowadays, apparently Become more Important than ever, also for Other European Countries, and Europe in general, also Because many feel that a Particularly Worrying current situation in the Italian Economy might Affect all €uroZone and Beyond, if an adequate Government in Rome, with Sufficient Popular Support, does Not undertake, the soonest possible, a Decisive series of required Reforms and Initiatives to Face the Public Debt and Boost the Italian Economy's considerable Potential.


It seems that this was also Part of Bilateral Contacts that Silvio Berluconi had recently in Brussels, during the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Heads of State/Government and Party Leaders' Summit, (including German Chancellor Angie Merkel, EU Council's President Donald Tusk, and EU Commission's President Jean-Claude Juncker, as well as EPP's President Joseph Daul, etc), at the Eve of the Latest EU's 28 Member Countries' Summit there on 19-20 October 2017, (Comp. "Eurofora"s NewsReports from the spot, as, among various others, also, f.ex. : ... + ... + ..., etc., and relevant Original Photo, published above).


--------------------------------------------
HARASSMENT ?!
----------------------------------------------


The former Long-Time Prime Minister and Succesful Businesman, had been Previously condemned for Tax Avoidance, (something that he strongly contests, denouncing his accusers to be Politicaly Motivated), and served a 1 Year Sentence with General Interest Work to Help Elder People, but Recently marked a Growing Come-Back Trend, after Largely Winning the Latest Regional Elections in Sicelia, as well as getting a New Judgement which found that he had UnFairly been Ordered by a Court to Pay 60 Millions € to a former Wife, even if she didn't need it.


Already since an Important Summit of ChristianDemocrat/EPP Heads of State/Government at Bonn, in Germany, Back on 2009, (Comp. "Eurofora"s NewsReports from the spot, f.ex., at: ... + ..), Silvio Berluconi had Denounced a Systematic and Relentless Harassment, Targetting him Personally, with an astonishing degree of Harshness and even Hate, particularly by some Establishment's Medias, Deep State's Bureaucracy, Political Adversaries turned Ennemies, etc. And Shortly Afterwards, he was even Physically Aggressed, by such a Brutal Violence, that he was Pictured with his Face full of Blood ! (See, f.ex.: ...).


Later-on, he was so much Persecuted by some Attorneys and/or Judges, that he was Pushed at the Harsh Situation which was described above, (Comp. Supra). And even Nowadays, it's enough to Watch the way that the Press Deals with him, in order to Easily Find out that, Obviously, Most Traditional, Mainstream Medias of the Establishment, and others, Systematically Attempt to Describe him as a Dangerous, Wrong-Doing Fool, (Choosing also to Publish the Worst possible Photos, showing him as incredibly Stupid and/or Crazy, etc., in the most Degrading possible way), relentlessly pursuing an agenda of "Assassination of Personality", at a Degree Rarely seen elsewhere !


It's Difficult for anyone who hasn't Followed, closely enough, neither examined critically, the overall Context and main Facts surrounding Silvio Berlusconi to guess which might, eventually, be the Real Reasons, and Interests at Stake, which stand Behind such an Exceptional amound of shameless Hate... Both the Right and/or the Left side of the Political Spectrum often having various Controversial Politicians, is it, then, perhaps, for the former Long-Time Italian Prime Minister, the quite particular Fact that, in his Government Coalitions of Center-Right+, were often included also People with a Rare Care for Issues such as f.ex. BioEthics, (as relevant Legislation and Measures attest, During and After his Past Era), which usually Hide a lot of Big and Growing Interests at Stake, behind them ?


At any case, most Contemporary Commentators seem to Agree, Today, that, somehow, Berlusconi has Recently started to Recover his Forces and Appeal, re-Becoming more and more Popular to Italian People, that the Center-Right Aliance that he tries to Lead, would Now have a Real Chance to Win the forthcoming, Spring 2018 Elections in Italy, at a crucial Juncture for possible and necessary efforts by many to Reform and ReBuild Europe anew. F.ex., inter alia, a Recent Poll Already gives the 1st Rank, with around 34% of the Votes, to his Center-Right Coalition, followed by 28% to Bepe Grillo's "5 Stars" Movement, and Only 25% to the currently Governing, mainly Center-Left Coalition.


+ And Berlusconi is also a Pioneer in ECHR's History, where he had, in the Past managed to Open, for the 1st Time, a Legal Space for Private, Independent Radio-TV Businesses, by Breaking down the Former State Monopole in AudioVisual Services and Networks, through an Efficient use of the PanEuropean Convention for Human Rights' Article 10, which guarantees the "Freedom of Expression" (Press/Medias' Freedom included).


------------------------------------
ECHR's+ COMPOSITION :
------------------------------------------


Earlier this Morning, in a full Courtroom for a "Grand Chamber" Public Hearing by 17 Euro-Judges, (the Biggest ECHR Formation, reserved for Important Cases), Exceptionally, the President of the PanEuropean Court, Guido Raimondi, who is of Italian origin, was Replaced by the German vice-President Miss Angelika Nussberger, and another, "ad hoc" Italian Judge was appointed only for this case : Mrs Ida Caracciolo.


The current Government of Italy, (predominantly Center-Left, except of Foreign Minister Alfano), had, characteristically, Chosen almost All, 4 our of 5, of its Lawyers to be Also Women !


And even the Current, Exceptional Composition of Today's ECHR Grand Chamber, is made out of a  Majority of Women among its 17 EuroJudges : 9 are, indeed, Women, (including the Chair : Comp. Supra, and even the Registrar : Also a Lady, i.e. = 10 in all), against just 8 Men.


(On the Contrary, the Applicant's Legal Team was Composed basically by Men, in 7 out of 8 cases, only 1 being a Woman).


+ As far as the Geo-Political aspects are concerned, among 17 Euro-Judges, and 3 "Substitute Judges" (i.e. 20 in Total), the Majority, i.e. 10 are from Neighbouring Countries to Berlusconi's Italy, (such as, f.ex., ECHR's vice-President Sicilianos, from Greece, and Others from Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, FYROM, Albania, Italy -ad hoc-), added to anOther 2 or 3 from Nearby and/or Culturally related Countries, (Romania, Bulgaria, Portugal). Only a Minority of 7 are from Far Away, Not-Related Countries, such as Germany (the Chair : Comp. Supra), Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Poland, Ukraine.


Berlusconi's Lawyers include 2 Professors of University : Bruno Nascimbene, Director of the Institute of International Law at Milan, where he Teaches European Law, with Experience Both at EU's Court of Justice in nearby Luxembourg, and at CoE's Paneuropean ECHR in Strasbourg ; but also the young Andrea Saccucci, Professor of International Law at the Universities of LUMSA in Rome (adjunct) and at Naples associate), as well as of Human Rights at Milan's Catholic University, and Barrister at London's prestigious "Doughty Street Chambers" Legal Firm, in the UK, mainly for various High Profile Human Rights cases.  But his Main Lawyer is the British, "Queen's Counsel" (QC) Edward Fitzerald, a Leading and Experienced Figure at the DS "Chambers" too, together with the young Counsel Steven Powles, a Mediatic Figure, with International links.


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LEGAL POINTS :
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His main Legal Arguments had been Build, from the Start, around 3 Key Points :


(A) Illegal Retroactivity of the Controversial Measure which imposed that Ban, (Comp. Supra), contrary to Article 7 of the EConvHR, ("No Punishment withOut Law".


(B) Free Elections, (Protocol 1, Article 3), combined with No Discrimination (Article 14), and :


(C) Effective Remedy (Article 13).



Berlusconi's Lawyers had Already argued, in these 3 regards, that :


- Despite having been Elected as Senator, and Leader of a Coalition with around 30% of the Vote on February 2013, he was Stripped of his Senatorial Position on November that same year, Because of a controversial Conviction on Tax issues which had Allegedly Occured 15 Years Earlier (sic !), on the Basis of a Governemental Decree passed on December 2012, which imposed Further Penalties for offenses allegedly committed long Before. This also Prohibits him from Standing in the Next Election, estimated for March 2018, Despite a considerable Support from the People. Thus, it's a Retroactive Penalty, Violating EConvHR's Article 7 about No Penalty withOut previous Law.


- Moreover, there was also a "Disproportionate Limitation of Electoral Rights, and Arbitrary Interference with the tenure of a duly Elected Candidate", in Violation of EConvHR's Protocol 1, Article 3, because the above-mentioned Decree imposes a "Ban" from Public Offices during at leasr 6 Years, (i.e. until 2019), Regardless of the Gravity of the alleged offense.  


As for the Decision to Strip from his Senatorial Mandate, it had been taken with a "Process governed by No Accessible Criteria", i.e. "Open to Political Manipulation and Abuse", as it appeared Clearly in this case.


 - Finally, an "Absence of Any ... Judicial Review or Scrutiny of these Complaints in Italy", Violated the EConvHR's Article 13, which guarantees the Right to an Effective Remedy.


----------


++ The Lawyers had, in Addition, Reminded the Supplementary Fact that, Also "a Separate Application to the ECHR", was (and continues to be) "still Pending", for "UnFair Trial", in Violation of EConvHR Article 6, (See also Infra).


-------------------------------------------------------    

     
+ Meanwhile, ECHR itself, had Raised Similar 3 Questions to the Italian Government and to the Applicant, already since 2016, when it Communicated Officially Berlusconi's complaint to Rome :


- (1) By Stripping Berlusconi from his Mandate as Senator, did the Italian Senate apply a "Penalty", "Retroactively", or not ?       

    
- (2) Did it also Violate his Right to Stand for Elections, withOut pursuing a Legitimate Aim, neither respecting Legitimate Expectations, and/or in the Absence of sufficient Safeguards against Arbitrariness ?


 - (3) Did he have an Effective Remedy in Italy ?


Shortly after the Reaction of the Italian Authorities, the Simple ECHR's Chamber, which had been, Initially in charge, Suddenly Asked from ECHR's Great Chamber to take over this case.


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During Today Morning's Public Hearing, in Strasbourg, by ECHR's Great Chamber, which Started soon after 9 a.m. and continued throughout 2 Hours until after 11 a.m., Euro-Judges Heard, at First, the Italian Government's Agents, and Afterwards Berlusconi's Lawyers, Raising Questions to Both, who Replied, one after the other, before the Court concludes that session, in order to Begin its own Deliberations, Later-on :

 


* Among the Questions raised by various EuroJudges, were, naturally, several points about the alleged "Retroactivity" of that Electoral "Ban" :


- F.ex,  Why that Controversial Decree imposing "Bans", was elaborated almost at the Same Time with the Latest Senatorial Elections, Contrary to CoE's Constitutional Law Top Experts, known as "Venice Commission"'s Standards about "Stability (and previsibility) of Electoral Laws" ; Whether there is More Evidence that this "Ban" had really a "Punitive" Aim, (as even its Official Heading suggested) ; Why the Italian Government claims that Only "Uneligibility" would be a "Punitive" Sanction, while "Disqualification" would not, even if the 2nd looks More Harsh ; etc.

 

---

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* But, astonishingly, this Time, the Greatest Number of EuroJudges' Questions, by far, were Focused on various Concrete Aspects of the Decision-Making Process, related with alleged risks for "Abuse of Discretionary Power" :


- F.ex., why anOther Senator, also concerned by Similar Issues as Berlusconi, saw a Differend Outcome in his case, and after What Kind of Procedure ; about "Minimum Guarantees of Impartiality" (according to EConvHR Article 6 on "Fair Trial") in relation with Electoral Rights ; on the "Way that the Discretionary Power" could be used by the Senate in order to Decide on such a "Ban" ; Why the Senate's Rapporteur on those Bans was suddenly "Replaced" by the President of the competent Commission ; Why, "Exceptionaly", for the First Time, on Belusconi's case, the Senate imposed that Ban by an "Open Vote", instead of a "Secret Vote", as it was generaly foreseen by its Rules of Procedure ; Why such a "DisQualification" can be "subject to Judicial Review" Only on Local/Regional level, but Not on a National level, according to Italian Law ; Why Berlusconi did Not Appear in front of  (+was Not Heard by) the Senate's competent Committee (which Decides on that "Ban") ; To Clarify whether the Ban was an "Automatic Consequence" of that Decree, "or a Discretionary" Decision ; If it's the latter, then, had that (Discretionary) "Margin of Appreciation" to respect any "Principle" (as, f.ex., "Independence" of the Decision-Maker, etc) ?; and "what is the precise Subject of such <<Deliberations>>" on the Ban ? (etc).

------------------------------------------

Replying to EuroJudges Critical Questions, the current Italian Government's Agent Maria Giuliana Civinini, first Claimed that, in Berlusconi's case, "the Proceedings were the Same", with another such case : - "There was a Free and Wide Debate", and (anOther MP : Mintzolini) had "Presented his case before the (Competent) Committee". Due to "Doubts about the Impartiality of the Court which had pronounced the latter's Disqualification, this was Refused" by the Senate's votes, Rome's Agent claimed.


Followed a lot of Time, astonishingly Wasted with rather Useless, and/or Out of the Main Point, Long Descriptions of the Preparation and the alleged Reasons for the Existence of that Controversial Decree about Bans, (but Not of the Way in which it was applied, on which EuroJudges had Raised Critical Questions : Comp. Supra)...

 

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It's only about that "Replacement of the Rapporteur" (Comp. Supra), that Mrs Civinini spoke, Admitting that "his Conclusions were Against the Majority" of the Center-Left's Government, and "that's why he was Replaced", But she Claimed that this was foreseen by the Law...


As for the Exceptional use of an "Open Ballot" in the case of Berlusconi, instead of a "Secret Ballot" as it used to be at the Senate's Rules, she Admitted that those Rules "were for a Secret Ballot", indeed, But Claimed that, "things Evolved", over Time, in general, and, "because of the Principles of Transparency, Accountabiity, etc, we Moved towards Open Ballots", etc, as she said, in a quite Vague way...


=> So that, Finally, the current Center-Left Italian Government's Agent, astonishingly, did Not even Reply to Anyone among those Numerous Questions raised by EuroJudges about the Way that the Senate's Administration had used (or ...Abused) of its "Discretionary" Competences to Decide on the Substance of the issue of that controversial Ban (Comp. Supra) !...


---------------------------


- On the Contrary, Professor Andrea Saccucci, replying as a Lawyer of the Appliquant (Silvio Berlusconi), Denounced the Fact that, indeed, that Controversial Decree on "Bans", had been Strongly Criticized Many Times, by various People, particularly for "Risks of Political Prevarication", as it allegedly happened in this case.

 

 
echr_berlu_lawyer_dr._saccucci_replies_eurofora_shot_400 


- Moereover, "the Risk of Arbitrary and Discriminatory Decision, Driven solely by Political Motives, is Not merely Theoretical", as a Comparison with the Similar case of Senator Muntzolini reveals : Indeed, Contrary to Berlusconi, he was allowed to sit for more than 1,5 Year, and, finally, it was Decided Not to Strip him from his Mandate !", Saccucci denounced.


 - In fact, Berlusconi's political Party had Never Agreed for a 6 Years "Ban", Neither for Stripping Elected Politicians from their Mandate, and even Less for doing so Retroactively, (as, however, his Political Opponents did to him), Prof. Saccucci critically observed.


 + Prof. Bruno Nascimbene went on to Focus on "the Way in which had Arrived to its Political and Partial Decision" the Italian Authority which "Banned" Berlusconi : He showed to ECHR a Book on "Manoeuvres in the Wings" of that procedure, which had been Published by a Key Witness shortly after its conclusion, (See relevant PHOTO). It points at the Link between a Procedure which was only in appearence correct, and "Party Politics' Dynamics" and "Arbitrariness" which can drive such Decisions, where "a Parliamentary Majority can Rule on Forfeiture" provoked by that, Nascimbene denounced.

 

echr_berlu_lawyer_prof._nascimbene_replies_eurofora_shot_400


=> So that, in fact, the Final Decision was "Anticipated", and many Bureau Members of the Competent Committee due to decide, had Already Anounced to the Medias how they would vote. All this gave a strong Impression that there was "No Point" for Berlusconi to eventualy Participate in that Committees' hearing, and that's why he was led to drop it, Prof. Nascimbene concluded, in reply to relevant Questions earlier made by EuroJudges, (Comp. Supra).


 + Meanwhile, also the Rapporteur, (who had Asked either to Raise a Question to the Constitutional Court, or to Drop the Sanction which threatened Berlusconi), was Voted Down by the Majority Party, and even Forced to be "Replaced", without any opportunity to object to that.


 - British Lawyer Edward Fitzgerald QC, Replying to another EuroJudge's Question, on the "Punitive purpose" of the Electoral "Ban" imposed to the Italian Political Leader, (a Condition for Retroactivity to be illegal : Comp. Supra), became obvious even by simply reading the Official "Heading" of that Governemental "Decree", which had Introduced that Measure by pointing at a need to "Suppress Corruption and illegality", and "the Effect was clearly Punitive", so there was "No Difference in substance" between a DisQualification imposed by a Court, and that DisQualification ("for a Minimum of 6 Years") imposed by that Senate's Committee, as he said



- Top Lawyer Fitzgerald Concluded by Replying to EuroJudges' Questions about the Legal Competence given to that Committee which could "Ban" MPs and/or Senators (Comp. Supra):  - "If there is a Power, then, clearly, it's Discretionary" he stressed, (pointing, inter alia, also to the Facts that "they Have to Deliberate", and, while for anOther Senator they did Not Strip from Office, on the Contrary, for Berlusconi, they Did : Comp. Supra).

 

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>>> - "The Problem is that, while there is No Doubt that there is a Discretionary Power" (in the Decision to Impose such a Controversial and Heavy "Ban"), nevertheless, there is No Test laid down, No requirement of Proportionality ("it's All or Nothing"), ... No Procedural Guarantees, and ...No Review", he strongly Criticized.

 

 
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 =>  "It's on that Basis that we say that what Happened to Mr. Berlusconi was Arbitrary, and Disproportionate, and he was Wrongly Deprived of Any Possibility of Reviewing" that "Before the Italian Courts" - "Not even the Retroactivity of that (Controversial) Law".


    + Moreover, all this is also Linked to an Old and very Controversial Conviction (for alleged Tax Evasion) in the Past (+ 20 Years Before !), and to that Latest, subsequent  Conviction (the "Ban" on 2013), which is Currently Disputed as "UnFair" and Deprived of Previous Legal Basis, in Violations of EConvHR's Articles 6 and 7, at a Parallel Case which is still "Pending" before the ECHR in Strasbourg until now (Comp. Supra), he Reminded "in fine", (obviously pointing at an overall mixture of apparently quite "Shaky" measures).


--------------------

TIMING :
----------------------------


* Concernig the most Frequent Question, widely Raised by many Medias and various Observers :  i.e. Whether ECHR will Judge this Exceptional Affair Before, or After the forthcoming Italian Elections of Spring 2018, the Pessimistic Claims made by some Traditional Medias of the Establishment, according to which it would be almost "Impossible" for ECHR to Decide on Time, Before these Elections, Crucial both for Italy and all Europe, was, indirecty but clearly, Rejected also by Statements that an experienced ECHR's Press Spokesman made Today in Reply to "Eurofora"s relevant Questions :


 - Even if, in General, the Average Time-frame for ECHR's Grand Chamber Judgements is about 1 Year, nevertheless, Nothing is Impossible, if the EuroJudges might find, eventually, Better to act Faster in some Exceptionally Important cases : Simply because Nothing Obliges the (PanEuropean) Court to Decide inside one or another Time-frame. Euro-Judges are Free and Sovereign in their own Choices, he stressed to "Eurofora", in conclusion.


+Moreover, it's Obvious that, at least in this case, the main Legal Questions, raised by Silvio Berlusconi's Lawyers, have been Already Raised also by the ECHR itself, as Early as since the Beginning of July 2016, in a Written Demand to the Italian Government, (to which they were addressed Together with the Official "Communication" of this affair) :
I.e. : 1) Retroactivity of that controversial Measure of Banishment, 2) Arbitrariness, or not, of an Infringement to the Right to Stand for Elections, and 3) Existence, or not, of an "Effective Remedy" inside the Country, in case of Violations of Human Rights.

------------------------------------------

Berlusconi has reportedly claimed that the Italian People have not really managed to freely Choose thesmselves a Prime Minister since 2008, (when he was in office), and that this has aggravated a MisTrust between Citizens and Politicians.


The Experienced former Long-Time Prime Minister of the Center-Right, (who belongs to the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Poitical Family, as well as German Chancellor Angie Merkel, and EU Commission's President Jean-Claude Juncker, etc), has also reportedly Criticized his main Competitors, by saying that the Center-Left (of the "Socialist" Group) would have "Failed", while the atypical "5 Stars" movement of Bepe Grillo (of Nigel Farage's "EFDD" Group in EU Parliament), would be "a Danger" for Europe.


While, Paradoxically, Silvio Berlusconi himself, would "Incarnate, ... Both the System, and the "Anti-System", ... managing to Hold it all Together", as mainstream French Agency AFP ironically points out, citting Italian "Espresso" magazine.


No need to, eventually, go as far as to mention the new US President Donald Trump, or, the Czech New Prime Minister-Designate, former businessman Babis, who have just Won the Latest Elections, since there are, already, various such concrete Examples, mutatis-mutandis, as, f.ex., with former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, etc...


----------------------


=> To Sum up, in a Nutshell :


- If ECHR Rejects Berlusconi's appeal, and/or Delays its Judgement for Only After the forthcoming Elections in Italy, (i.e., Keeps the Ban, until then, included), then, Regardless of what might be the Political Will of the Italian People, he will be Hindered to be Elected as Prime Minister, and somebody Else will take that place, (probably or possibly from an Opposite Political Party).


Such possible consequences, added also to the Fact that his Complaint to ECHR already Dates since 2013, would obviously raise Critical Questions on the real reasons for such an eventually even Longer Delay to Judge, (2013-2018+).

- On the Contrary, if ECHR Accepts this application, and Publishes Timely  its Decision Before the Elections of Spring 2018, then, the Italian People would have a Chance to Freely Choose their Next Prime Minister, as they wish, (and, according to recent Polls, it may be Silvio Berluconi, probably, or it might not).

I.e., Obviously, a Big Responsibility for EuroJudges. Because, whatever they might do, they will likely contribute to Write History, in one way, or another...


In the 1st Case (comp. supra), ECHR might, naturally, be, eventually, Accused by some for an alleged Attempt to Interfere inside Italy's National Political Life. While, in the 2nd Case, most probably, it woN't, since the PanEuropean Court would leave the People Free to Choose their Prime Minister, as they wish, (Comp. Supra).


What Choice will make ECHR ? Its Deliberations being Confidential, we shall Find out only on Spring 2018.

 

 

(../..)
 
 

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***
 
 
 
(NDLR : Headline PHOTO by Rony Mertens for "Eurofora" : Silvio Berlusconi at EPP Summit in Brussels, 19 October 2017)
 
 
 
 
***
 
 

("DraftNews", as already send to "Eurofora"'s Donors/Subscribers earlier. A more accurate, full Final Version, might be published asap.)

 


***




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People in Europe and the World expect from CoE to make a succes of its "Monitoring" for Human Rights and Democracy, despite difficulties, said Finland's President Tarja Halonen to "EuroFora" at a crucial moment for the mecanism built 15 years ago by the paneuropean organization which celebrates its 60th Anniversary in 2009.

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This is a Test-case, because, in fact, it's in order to avoid Sanctions threatened against Turkey by a CoE's Assembly's April 1995 Resolution for grave Human Rights violations, Democracy gaps, the continuing Military Occupation in Cyprus, the unresolved Kurdish problem, Aegean differend with Greece, etc., that MEPs decided to create, for the 1st time on April 1996, a "Monitoring" proces, allegedly destinated to check, without excluding Countries who did not fulfill all CoE's standards.

In the Past, the obliged withdrawal of Greece's Military regime and of its "Civil" cover-up out of the CoE had helped bring back Democracy in 1974. But, on the contrary, since April 1996, the idea was to "monitor" Human Rights' respect while keeping most concerned Countries inside the CoE. After Turkey's oldest example, this was extended also to several former "Eastern" European Countries, even if CoE's Assembly has imposed to some of them (fex. Ukraine, Russia, etc., after Belarus, Serbia, etc) various "Sanctions", that Ankara always avoided. Curiously more succesful even than .. USA itself, (a CoE "Observer" since 1995), which has been at least threatened with sanctions some years ago..

EU-effects of CoE's Monitoring process became obvious between 2001-2008, since the "closure" of this procedure, when CoE felt that a Country had met most of its Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law obligations, (i.e. the "Copenhagen Criteria" for the EU), helped trigger Negotiations with the EU for "Accession" or other closer relations : This occured already before the 2004 and 2007 EU Enlargements to former "Eastern" European Countries, as well as for the commencement of "accession" negotiations with Croatia, and of "open-ended" negotiations with Turkey in 2005.

    But a stricking new development are Holovaty's recent findings that on core Human Rights issues as Torture and Freedom of Expression, Turkey, even "5 Years after" CoE closed its "Monitoring", back in 2004, inciting EU to start accession Negotiations in 2005, still presents grave problems.

    His findings are of crucial importance after a 2008 CoE Resolution called, "if need be", to "seriously consider the possibility of Re-Opening the Monitoring procedure for Turkey" : A move which might affect Ankara's controversial EU bid, since EU Accession Negotiations are based on the Hypothesis that the Candidate fullfils the "Copenhagen Criteria" (See above)..
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    Holovaty expressed his will to check  "Matters still Outstanding" and  those that he "didn't have an opportunity to discuss" at an earlier visit this year, "in order to discuss the more complex issues in greater depth", at his forthcoming New Visit to Ankara, before the December 2009 EU Summit.  This is all based on the 2004 CoE Resolution which stresses that, CoE "will continue.. post-monitoring Dialogue with the Turkish authorities,...in addition to a 12-points list,..and on any Other Matter that might arise in connection with Turkey’s Obligations as a CoE member state".

    CoE's Resolution also asks  from Turkey "to secure the proper Implementation of Judgements, particularly in the Cyprus v. Turkey InterState case", of 2001, which concerns also the plight of many Hundreds of MISSING People. It adds Turkey's obligations to "execute" ECHR's Judgements in the Loizidou case,..and in particular adopt General Measures to avoid repetition or continuation of Violations found by the Court" to the detriment of Refugees.

    Nevertheless, Holovaty said to "EuroFora" that "MISSING" persons,"might be included" and cannot be excluded, but he has yet to examine the situation "to find out  which issues will be raised" to the Turkish Government.

    Therefore, "EuroFora" asked Halonen, as the Historic "Mother" of CoE's Monitoring mecanism, if she thought that, "whenever there are grave Human Rights Violations, as fex. "MISSING" persons, attested even by ECHR's judgements, they should be always checked by a Monitoring process. Or could they be forgotten ?"
    
     - "We (CoE) must be, at the same time, Fair, Realistic, but not in the mind that "now we have Forgotten", etc., replied to "EuroFora"'s question Halonen, speaking as a matter of general principle.

    - "When we think of those People that are suffering from the lack of Democracy, of Human Rights, and of the Rule of Law", "we should find a base on how to deal with the (Monitoring) system more rapidly"', she stressed.

    - "Sometimes it's very difficult to combine Transparency and Effectivenes together, particularly in this specific case", she went on to say. But, "I have not found a (CoE Member) Country who could be insensitive in this sens", Halonen answered concerning grave Human Rights violations attested by the ECHR.

    - "I have no ready-made answer. I have the expectations that you, in the CoE, will, step by step, find the different types of the monitoring systems."

    Also "because this is a part of the UN's Post-Conflict system, (fex. when it comes to Cyprus' MISSING persons), and it's a more Global system". So that, "If we make a succes in Europe, the others will follow", throughout the World.  "But they expect that we (Europe) are this opportunity, this Opportunity to make a Succes", Halonen concluded.

    In addition, she advised to extend CoE's Monitoring to all its 47 Member States, "because, as long as we hear that, all these monitoring systems are "OK for the neighbor, but not for me", "it's very difficult" to understand. Something which could make easier to Compare...

    Finnish MEP Jaako Laakso, former CoE Rapporteur on the Occupied Territories of Cyprus and one of the 5 Signatories of the Historic CoE's call to create the "MONITORING" mecanism since 1996, was more specific :  - "We (CoE Assembly) have to find a way for the issue of Cyprus' MISSING People to be better followed", he stressed, anouncing his intention to "speak to Mr. Holovaty" about that. "There might be also other ways", added Laakso.

    - The 2008 "Year had been a very Bad one for Turkey with regard to Human Rights in general, and Freedom of Expression in particular", denounced, meanwhile, Holovaty's preliminary Post-Monitoringh Draft Report by Holovaty, published by the CoE on April 2009.

    "Amnesty International believes that freedom of expression is not guaranteed given the various articles of the Criminal Code that restrict it. .. "For example, 1,300 Websites are said to have been closed down by the (Turkish) authorities in 2008" ! While "the new Turkish Criminal Code was used to bring a total of 1,072 proceedings between June 2005 and April 2008, and led to the conviction of 192 people", for expressing views. "Representatives of the Özgür Gündem newspaper, which specialises in Kurdish affairs, ..complained about Numerous Attacks on their Freedom of Expression ...as was everyone who advocated a settlement to the question by means other than the intervention of the army" "According to their figures, 19 Newspapers had been suspended 43 times between 4 August 2006 and 4 November 2008" !...

    Moreover, on 2008,  CoE's "Ministers adopted its 4rth Resolution on the execution of the judgments of the ECHR, ...and outstanding issues regarding 175 Judgements and decisions relating to Turkey delivered between 1996 and 2008...  concerning Deaths resulting from the excessive use of force by members of the Security forces, the failure to protect the right to life, the DIisappearance and/or death of individuals, Ill-Treatment and the Destruction of property". CoE's " Ministers urged the Turkish authorities ...to ensure that members of Security forces of all ranks can be prosecuted without administrative
authorisation" for "serious crimes". Holovaty reminded.

"Nonetheless", Holovaty heard anew of "Several cases of Violence committed last year (2008) by the (Turkish) security forces". Amnesty International speaks of Many Cases of ill-treatment and Torture in the prisons and by the police". "Including, fex."'the death of Engin Ceber, a young man of 29 who died on October 2008 as a result of the TORTURE allegedly inflicted on him by police officers, prison staff and members of the gendarmerie. He was part of a group of people arrested on September 2008 during a demonstration and Press Conference in Istanbul'. Proceedings against suspects are "on-going" in this case.

- " I therefore noted an Obvious Contradiction between the Government’s stated “zero tolerance” policy.... of Torture and other forms of ill-treatment, and the different testimonies given", denounced CoE's Rapporteur.  Turkish "authorities must make considerable efforts to guarantee that proper investigations are carried out into allegations of abuses by members of the security forces and that perpetrators are effectively punished" "In this respect, I have requested detailed Statistics on the number of Investigations, acquittals and convictions in cases involving allegations of abuse in order to show the positive impact of the measures taken to date", Holovaty said, repeating a permanently unsatisfied CoE's demand to Turkey since a Decade...

    - "The Political Crisis that shook the country in the spring of 2008 highlighted the Weaknesses of the (Turkish) Constitution", which comes from the Military regime of 1982, "and the Urgent Need of Reforms", stressed from the outset CoE's Rapporteur in 2009. In particular, "the ...Democratic functioning of state institutions, including the independence of the judicial system, are crucial", he observes.

    But, "the Electoral  system and the ways in which it is circumvented do not appear to give those elected complete Legitimacy, and tend to pervert the course of direct universal suffrage", denounces Holovaty, observing that, even 5 Years later, Turkey did not yet change the 10% nationwide Threshold for a party to take any seat, which is "far higher" than the "3%" maximum in Europe and already condemned as contrary to European Standards by the CoE.

    + Moreover, EU Parliament's 2009 Report on Turkey, drafted by Dutch MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijten and adopted in Strasbourg on March, expresses "Concern over the Failure of the (Turkish) Judiciary to prosecute cases of Torture and Ill-treatment, the Number of which is Growing". EU also "is concerned about continuing Hostility and Violence against Minorities" in Turkey. It also "calls on the Turkish Government to launch, as a matter of Priority, a Political Initiatve favouring a lasting Settlement of the Kurdish issue, (while "condemning violence.. and terrorist groups"). EU "regrets that No progress has been made on establishing full, systematic Civilian suprevisory functions over the (Turkish) Military".

    The final results of Holovaty's 2nd and last visit to Turkley will be known later this year, and, at any case, before EU's December 2009 Summit.

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