The third assize court did not feel like opening the trial in the absence of the defendants Now it is up to the government to put pressure on Egypt for letters rogatory
ROMA – There is a problem of different interpretation of the rules among magistrates. More: a conflict within the court of Rome, where a judge found that the
trial for the kidnapping and murder of Giulio Regeni
it could be done even in the absence of the defendants and others have replied that no, the trial cannot begin because there is no proof that those same defendants have been informed of the judgment against them. Faced with the same paragraphs and the same stamped papers there is a contrast of views that led to two opposing verdicts: a decree of indictment and subsequent annulment of that provision.
This is the stumbling block on which the trial is stuck for now against the
four Egyptian National Security soldiers accused of the kidnapping and (one of them, the last) of the torture and killing of Julius: General Tarek Ali Saber, Colonels Aser Kamal Mohamed Ibrahim, and Hosam Helmy, Major Magdi Ibrahim Sharif. Until now there was a Public Prosecutor’s Office that had succeeded in the half miracle of bringing four foreign citizens to the bar for a crime committed in their country against an Italian citizen, despite the obstacles posed by Egypt which for four years (when the investigation took the road that led to those four names) has interrupted all collaboration. Indeed, last January he launched a harsh attack on the Rome prosecutor’s office, accusing it of illogical conclusions that do not conform to international criminal legal foundations.
Now the scenario has changed and the obstacle was raised by the third assize court which did not feel like opening the trial in the absence of the accused. While acknowledging that this situation of inadmissibility derives from the evident inertia of the Egyptian state in the face of the requests of the Italian Ministry of Justice, followed by repeated reminders by judicial and diplomatic channels, as well as by official appeals of international resonance made by the highest authorities of the Italian State. But in the face of such obstinate deafness, it is impossible to proceed on the presumption (transformed by the judge of the preliminary hearing Pierluigi Balestrieri into absolute certainty) that the accused know and want to escape the ongoing trial. Certain proof is needed, to be evaluated with particular rigor, wrote judge Antonella Capri in the order of the court presided over by her.
What will happen now? Within a few weeks the proceedings will return to the same judge who – presumably by January – will set a new preliminary hearing where the prosecutor, the civil party and the defenders will return to discuss the issue of the availability of the accused and notifications. It is likely that the judge will initiate a new rogatory request to Egypt for the election of domicile of the four soldiers, but equally likely that Egypt will respond with silence sent from December 2017 onwards. At that point the trial will fall into a sort of limbo, suspended sine die, waiting for Egypt to decide differently in the face of new requests to be reiterated every year.
Of course, the Italian government can look for other ways to get different answers from Cairo. But the decision of Palazzo Chigi to appear as a civil party against the four defendants, alongside the prosecution and the Regeni family, was not welcomed in Egypt; as well as the inclusion in the list of witnesses to be called (at the request of Giulio’s parents and sister) of President Al Sisi and other members of the government. However, according to the president of the parliamentary commission of inquiry, Erasmo Palazzotto, the constitution of a civil party places even greater responsibility on the Italian government in having to exercise, with every tool at its disposal, diplomatic and political pressure for Egypt to collaborate with Italian justice. But it won’t be easy.
October 16, 2021 (change October 16, 2021 | 07:12)
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