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International humanitarian law. The Military Attorney General Marco De Paolis delivered a lectio magistralis discussing the Italian military justice experience in fighting impunity against crimes committed during the Second World War.


On 25 October 2023, the Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva, Ambassador Vincenzo Grassi, hosted a large audience of Ambassadors, international civil servants and jurists for the lectio magistralis of the Military Attorney General at the Military Court of Appeal in Rome, Marco De Paolis, entitled: “Fighting impunity: Military Justice experience on war crimes committed in Italy during the Second World War in the current perspective of Humanitarian Law”.

The lecture took place in the framework of the mission to Switzerland of an Italian delegation led by the Military Attorney General himself, which will continue with a workshop open to the public organized today by the Italian Cultural Institute of Zurich.

The Military Attorney General described the Italian experience in the field of investigation and prosecution of crimes committed in Italy during the Nazi occupation, drawing the attention of the audience to crucial and current issues such as: the moral and legal obligation to fight impunity for war crimes, the necessary impartiality the judicial system is required to adopt to avoid selectivity or express only the winners’ point of view, the “enormous significance” of accountability for atrocities and war crimes, even years after their commission, the deterrent effect of military justice and, above all, the necessary protection of human rights during armed conflicts.

The passionate debate taking place after the intervention of the Military Attorney General De Paolis confirmed the timeliness of the lecture and the centrality of the topics addressed, at a time when it becomes even more pressing, particularly on the Geneva platform, to strengthen the commitment of the international community towards the respect for international humanitarian law.