Court rules in Italy's favour over demonstrator's killing
Mar 24, 2011, 12:20 GMT
Rome/Strasbourg - The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled Thursday that an Italian policeman's fatal shooting of a demonstrator at the 2001 Group of Eight (G8) Genoa summit, was in self-defence and that the case had been properly investigated by authorities.
The judgement by the 17 judges of the ECHR's Grand Chamber is definitive, the court said in a statement.
The case had been brought before the ECHR by relatives of Carlo Giuliani who, aged 23, was killed on July 20, 2001.
Giuliani, who since his death has become an icon for many in the anti-globalization movement, was wearing a black ski mask and was holding a fire extinguisher which he was apparently about to hurl at a police car when he was shot dead.
The ECHR dismissed allegations that Giuliani's death had been caused by excessive use of force.
After viewing video footage and photographs of the incident the ECHR noted that the officer who had fired the shots 'had been confronted with a group of demonstrators conducting an unlawful and very violent attack on the vehicle in which he was stranded.'
'In those circumstances, the use of a potentially lethal means of defence such as the firing of shots had been justified,' the ECHR ruled.
It also dismissed allegations that there had been shortcomings in the organisation of operations to maintain and restore public order in Genoa for the G8 and that there had been no effective investigation into Giuliani's death.
Reacting to the verdict, Giuliani's father Giuliano said the family 'would not surrender,' and noted how the Grand Chamber judges were split over some of the issues covered by their ruling.
The family would further pursue the case through the civil courts, the father said.
In 2003 judge at a preliminary inquest in Italy ruled that the bullet fired by Mario Placanica's pistol deflected off a stone before hitting Giuliani in the head.
The judge accordingly ruled there was no need for a trial because the policeman did not intend to shoot the demonstrator.
Hundreds were injured during almost three days of rioting during the G8 summit in Genoa when police clashed with demonstrators trying to enter the Genoa city centre where G8 leaders from the United States, Germany, Japan, France, Italy, Canada, Britain and Russia were meeting and which had been declared off-limits.
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