According to Italian Law, the minor has not reached sufficient intellectual development in order to comprehend the social-ethical value of his/her actions. For this reason, Italian Criminal Law excludes criminal imputability for those individuals who are under-age. In other words, being underage excludes any kind of criminal imputability. Under this circumstance, it appears important to distinguish minors under fourteen and minors between fourteen and eighteen.
Generally speaking, in any case, the minor under fourteen can be imputable. In particular, whatever the criminal offence and the intellectual development are, the minor under fourteen will never be imputable or sanctioned. On the contrary, minor between fourteen and eighteen is imputable only in case the judge assessed he/she was of sound mind at the time of the fact.
The minor under fourteen
As it was previously affirmed, in relation to minors under fourteen, a complete presumption of non-imputability applies. Then, whatever the criminal offence and the intellectual development are, the minor will not be subject to criminal proceeding. In fact, even if the minor has committed a murder, the sole fact he/she is under fourteen states that he/she cannot be subjected to a criminal proceeding because he/she was unsound of mind.
However, even if a minor under fourteen is not imputable, he/she might be subjected to a security measure. In fact, whenever the minor has been judged socially dangerous, security measures might be applied. In particular, with the purpose of avoiding further criminal acts, the following security measures might be activated:
- Compulsory permanence in the place of residence on a certain time;
- Prohibition from attending a specified place;
- Rehabilitation centre.
Minors between fourteen and eighteen
Italian Criminal Code affirmed that minors between fourteen and eighteen are fully imputable only if he/she has been found sound in mind at the time of the fact. Then, it is for the judge to assess whether the minor was in full possession of his/her mental faculties.
In the event the minor has been found guilty of a specific crime, the sanction will be reduced compared to a standard sanction which targets an adult. Furthermore, even in this case the judge will have to assess whether the minor might be considered socially dangerous.
Children rights in respect of the State and the Institutions are:
The right to a family – States must enforce parents’ right and duty to ensure children proper relationship with couple members: even after couple separation or if they live in different countries.
The right to privacy – Children have the right to privacy and nobody shall control their correspondence or spying his/her private life.
The right to a well-balanced adoption – States must always control that, during the adoption process, child-oriented decisions will be taken. Also, Institutions need to enforce children right to have a family checking the conditions of the adoption and ensuring moral and physical conditions of the child.