Prescription of Crime and Reasonable Duration of the Process: Principles to Be Defended or Obstacles to Be Knocked Down?
Statutes of limitations are a very salient topic in our Country, where a great number of criminal proceedings unfortunately end up being statute barred. This paper critically reflects on the recent tendency – now even more viable in light of the well-known Taricco judgment - to extend statutes of limitations in order to avoid such an outcome, which is certainly not desirable. In particular, it examines the protective nature and the liberal foundation of prescription, and puts the emphasis on the need to speed up criminal proceedings, rather than stretch the length of limitation periods as a non-thought out reform would recommend. Such a choice would in fact result in an even slower criminal justice, with late compensation for the victims of the crime and interventions that are not always able to rehabilitate the convicted, causing negative effects even on the economy the state. Therefore, in the light of recent judgments of the Constitutional Court, there is hope for targeted interventions on procedural criminal law, on regulated directions and also on the substantive criminal law able to affect the unsustainable length of Italian criminal proceedings.