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Transitional Justice. Italy from 1945 to the Seventies
“Transitional justice” denotes those judicial and administrative processes that take place during a political transition, generally from an authoritarian regime to a democratic one. The principle aim is that of punishing the persons in charge during the preceding regimes and their supporters, to “render justice” and to reach─by way of a series of juridical and political measures─internal pacification, which ought to allow for the civil and moral reconstruction of society.
The project centers on justice with particular attention paid to measures of clemency (amnesty, pardon, and grace) in Italy after World War II. Amnesty takes shape as a collective measure, as a reaction to specific crimes, and it involves countless detainees; it is an action with strong political overtones, on which parliament speaks out and the public opinion and the media have their say. Pardon, on the other hand, is individual, its institutional iter is played out between the Ministry of Grace and Justice and the Presidency of the Republic, it thus largely escapes publicity and the control of public opinion.
We will address a number of general questions by examining juridical, institutional, and social aspects. How was the transition from one political regime to the next tackled in Italy alter WWII and especially in the early 50s? How were the judicial and political instruments of pardon and amnesty put to use? Who benefitted? Were these instruments efficient in “pacifying” society and laying sound bases for a democratic society? Who benefitted from acts of clemency in the 60s and 70s? To what political, ethical, and juridical rules did the officials and the Ministers of Grace and Justice respond? Did amnesty and pardon contribute to “turning the page” with respect to social protest and terrorism?