Victims of Intentional Violent Crimes: hearing at the Court of Justice

Applicability of Directive 2004/80 / EC to Italian victims of intentional violent crimes?

On March 2nd, the partners of the Law Firm MB.O, Marco Bona and Umberto Oliva, together with their colleague Francesco Bracciani, in defense of a victim of sexual violence, attended the hearing, held before the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union, relating to case C-129/19 about the applicability of the Directive 2004/80/EC relating to compensation to crime victims also to non-cross-border persons following the request for a preliminary ruling lodged from the Italian Supreme Court Corte on the 19th of February 2019.

In particular, the main proceedings concern an action of damages brought by an Italian citizen resident in Italy – victim of a crime of sexual violence and unable to obtain, from those directly responsible, full compensation for the damaged sustained – against the Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministers (responsible for the implementation of the directives), on grounds of non-fulfilment and/or incorrect and/or incomplete fulfilment of the obligations laid down in Directive 2004/80/EC relating to establish a mechanism for compensation of violent and intentional crime victims, when impossible to obtain it by the direct perpetrators.

In relation to the situation of late (and/or incomplete) implementation in the national legal system of Directive 2004/80/EC, the first referred question concerns the existence or not of an imposition on Member States of a liability also “in relation to non-cross-border (and thus resident) persons, who are not the direct addressees of the benefits deriving from implementation of the directive but who, in order to avoid infringement of the principle of equal treatment/non-discrimination […], should have and could have — if the directive had been implemented in full and in good time — benefited from the effect utile of that directive[1], meaning the same abovementioned compensation mechanism.

The second referred question concerns the compensation established for the victims of violent intentional crimes by the Italian institutions in the fixed amount of Euro 4.800, whether it could be considered as “fair and appropriate compensation to victims” within the meaning of Article 12(2) of Directive 2004/80/EC.

The theory developed by the victim’s lawyers in relation to the first issue is that Article 12 of the Directive applies to all persons affected by intentional violent crimes including those who suffer a crime in the country where they reside, as in the Case C-129/19, hence there is not any need to address the scope of the Directive by relying on the “reverse discrimination” evoked by the Italian Supreme Court. On the second profile, the lawyers argued that the Italian legislator shall indicate as “fair and adequate” compensation a minimum amount, as the indemnity coverage recognized to date is less than the monetary parameters legally acknowledged for similar cases.

The Advocate General will present his conclusions on May 14th, 2020.


[1] Case C-129/19, Application (OJ), in InfoCuria Case law of the Court of Justice.

Leave a comment