Initial Observations on the Law of 11 December 2016, No. 236, and the New Crimes of Trafficking in Human Organs Removed from Living Persons Introduced by Art. 601bis of the Criminal Code.

By Law no. 236/2016, which recently entered into force, the Italian legislator has finally overcome a serious gap within our system of criminal law: the criminal phenomenon of trafficking in organs, which has previously been regulated by a few provisions enacted outside of the Codes, has finally been subjected to a series of new provisions introduced into the Criminal Code. The crimes provided for in the new art. 601bis, which have been included amongst those against the individual personality, punish both the sale, transfer or illegal handling of human organs extracted from a living person as well as the marketing and advertising of travel for the purpose of organ trafficking. At the same time, the new Law has reorganized some of the existing complementary criminal provisions, repealing art. 7 of Law no. 458/1967, with the result that art. 22bis of the Law no. 91/1999 is now the only provision punishing intermediation for profit in the donation of any organ extracted from a living person. Although the lawmaker’s initiative seems to be positive, many problematic issues emerge, concerning both the location of art. 601bis in the Criminal Code from a systemic perspective and the requirement (as yet not complied with) for the Italian legal system to comply with to the criminal provisions of the 2014 Council of Europe Convention against organ trafficking.