Sunday, July 27, 2014

Where will these charges be tried?

Justice Minister Andrea Orlando
The Daily Beast has this account of allegations of rape and other offenses against two members of the U.S. military stationed in Italy. One of the suspects was already under charges in another case. The question now is whether the Italian government will resist turning the men over to the U.S. for trial in accordance with the governing NATO Status of Forces Agreement or prosecute the case itself in the Italian courts. The article reports resentment over repeated misconduct by U.S. personnel, reminiscent of local friction in Okinawa.

The article is less than clear about how the SOFA actually functions. We find this in Article 7(3)(c):
If the State having the primary right decides not to exercise jurisdiction, it shall notify the authorities of the other State as soon as practicable. The authorities of the State having the primary right shall give sympathetic consideration to a request from the authorities of the other State for a waiver of its right in cases where that other state considers such waiver to be of particular importance.
Under the NATO SOFA's concurrent jurisdiction provisions, Italian authorities can, in the end, stand their ground and prosecute these charges, the victim having been a Romanian civilian. Given the history recounted in the article, it would not be surprising if they did so.

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