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Legal Experts in Rome Discuss Justice and Peace

Rome, Italy – "True peace is not just the absence of war, but a state of comprehensive, stable well-being that is difficult to achieve except through extreme and concerted efforts aimed at removing the root causes of conflict. This implies a constant effort on the part of all human beings in the light of spirituality and equity."

With these words, Maria Pia Turiello, forensic criminologist and moderator, opened the conference "Justice for Peace: An Indissoluble Pair for a Harmonious Future," held on October 24, 2023, in the Capitular Hall of the Senate, Rome. The meeting was organized by Senator Manfredi Potenti, in collaboration with UPF-Italy and the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP Italy), a project of UPF.

Lucia Secchi Tarugi, councilor of the National Forensic Council, said, "Justice and peace must be reference points for our actions as individuals and within institutions." Francesca De Moro, from the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute in Rome (UNICRI), stressed the great importance of civil society's contribution to achieving the goals of UN Agenda 2030. Senator Pierferdinando Casini, who was abroad, sent a message stressing that "Peace is not an abstract value; it cannot be separated from justice, freedom and respect for human dignity."

Carlo Zonato, president of UPF-Italy, explained the new Justice for Peace project that inspired the conference. The Honorable Pietro Pittalis, vice-chairman of the Justice Commission, noted, "One cannot think that the war in Ukraine and the clash between Israel and Hamas are something far from our communities and therefore we look at these events with attention and much concern."

Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, archbishop and president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, recalled that Aristotle maintained that the foundation of the polis is not the law, but is friendship among citizens, the heart of peace and justice.

Deputy Minister of Justice Francesco Paolo Sisto pointed out, "We are one of the few nations that has in the Constitution a very clear reference to peace," which is based on legislation and especially on international cooperation. The latter, he noted, "is a must because it is no longer conceivable for a state alone to guarantee itself internally and externally." He went on to say that "access to justice," expressed in Goal 16 of the UN 2030 Agenda, is "an ineradicable tool for ensuring, within societies, peacemaking."

According to Senator Manfredi Potenti, "It is fundamental to the democratic order that it rest on a code that classifies what behavior is not allowed and, above all, that these prohibitions are shared." He gave the example of courts that imposed unshared rules, such as the Inquisition and Sharia law, and spoke of judges who were not impartial. The senator also stressed that a peace agreement must take place in a climate of equality.

The Honorable Mirella Cristina, former member of the Justice Commission, stated, "Every individual is at peace with himself and with others if he sees his rights safeguarded, recognized, protected," but if they are disregarded, they are a cause of dissatisfaction and powerlessness. She spoke of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which formally recognizes the rights of all persons and peoples, pointing out that these days we are witnessing blatant and repeated violations of this document. She also cited the new UN 2030 Agenda, in particular Goal 16, which concerns the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies that guarantee access to justice.

For Dr. Sergio De Nicola, deputy prosecutor of the Public Prosecutor's Office at the Cagliari Court of Appeals, it is possible to develop systems such as restorative justice and mediation to transfer the culture of peacemaking to the judicial sphere. He spoke of the Workers' Statute, which attaches special importance to the conciliatory role of the judge to enable the parties to resume cooperation. "I believe that mediation should be introduced as a mode of conflict management in the Italian penal system as well," for rapprochement between the victim and the perpetrator, he said.

In the absence of Dr. Graziano Perria, former first executive of the State Police, Carlo Zonato read passages from his report, in which he proposed the use of artificial intelligence systems for mediation and conflict resolution. "These systems can analyze data, contextualize issues, and propose impartial, law-based solutions, thereby facilitating the achievement of a fairer and more satisfactory agreement for all parties involved,” he wrote.

Spokesperson for Italy of the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), one of the sponsors of the event, Domenico Di Conza called for "setting an appointment on the occasion of the World Day of Social Justice, celebrated on February 20, in which this justice of peace becomes social justice."

Franco Ravaglioli, UPF-Italy vice president, read an excerpt from Dr. Sun Myung Moon's autobiography, "Dreaming of a World of Peace," which proposes adding an Interfaith Council to the United Nations General Assembly. Dr. Moon believed that, when the knowledge and experience of political leaders are combined with the wisdom of representatives of different faiths, the world will be able to find its way to true peace.

This was followed by criminal lawyer Massimo Rossi, who referred to the Constitution’s provision of re-education of prisoners, which could be called resocialization. Punishment must be imposed, he said, but should produce a new person who can be reintegrated into society.

In conclusion, Maria Gabriella Mieli presented the Ambassador of Peace certificate for special merit in the pursuit of peace to Dr. Sergio De Nicola. Dr. Graziano Perria and Dr. Micaela Pirreda, who were not present at the meeting, were also honored with the award.

By Vittorio Patanella, IMAP Coordinator, UPF-Italy
October 24, 2023


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