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Italy bill would criminalize environmental damage

[JURIST] The Italian government adopted a draft law Tuesday that would criminalize a wide range of environmentally-unsound activities, including damage to environmental resources, polluting, illegal dumping, and causing environmental catastrophes. Proposed sentencing guidelines authorize up to 10 years in jail for the most serious crime, causing environmental catastrophes, and authorize fines ranging from 4,000 to 20,000 Euros for polluting to 30,000 to 250,000 Euros for causing environmental catastrophes. The draft bill, which still must be approved by the full Italian parliament, would bring Italy in line with other European Union countries that have already criminalized environmental crimes, such as Belgium, the Czech Republic, and Denmark.

The European Commission [official website] in February proposed that all EU member nations criminalize serious environmental offenses [JURIST report] and impose minimum sanctions for violations to prevent environmental criminals from exploiting discrepancies between member states' criminal law systems. The directive would have all EU members treat offenses that seriously harm humans or the environment as so-called green crimes [Commission materials] if committed intentionally or with gross negligence. Listed offenses include illegal shipment of waste and trade in endangered species or ozone-depleting materials, punishable by at least 5 years in prison and corporate fines of up to 750,000 euros (US $975,000). AFP has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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