Interview with Adriana Caravelli

The Press Office had the occasion to interview Adriana Caravelli sharing her experience in the CEDU Training.

Tell us about your professional path and what it means to be a Surveillance Magistrate today in Italy.

At the end of my university studies, I carried out a period of legal practice in my city of origin and an internship pursuant to art. 73, Legislative Decree 69/2013 at the Court of Florence. I then had the great opportunity to carry out an internship at the Italian Division of the European Court of Human Rights and, subsequently, to work as an assistant jurist at the same Court. In particular, these last two experiences have allowed me to continue studying and deepening the topic of the protection of fundamental rights, which I have always been passionate about. In the meantime, I studied to take the competition to access the ordinary judiciary, which I passed in 2020. After a further period of internship, during which I worked alongside magistrates operating in different fields, I chose the role of Supervisory Magistrate at the Surveillance Court of Bologna, where I assumed the functions starting from the end of November 2022. Being a Surveillance Magistrate today in Italy means playing a complex and, if we like, dual role. On the one hand, it requires managing the execution phase of the sentence, ensuring compliance with the re-education principle enshrined in the art. 27 of the Constitution. This means ensuring that those who are serving a criminal sanction have the possibility of accessing all those opportunities and activities that promote their social reintegration.

On the other hand, the Surveillance Magistrate must monitor the rights of people who in various ways find their personal freedom limited or deprived of the same and who, due to this condition of vulnerability, require the presence of an authority that monitors and intervenes in case in which they find violations of their fundamental freedoms. This second aspect is acquiring over time - and also thanks to the intervention of the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights - ever greater importance. The conditions of places of deprivation of personal liberty in Italy, also photographed by international bodies such as the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (see, for example, the 2022 report), in fact require an active and vigilant presence of the supervisory judiciary.

How did the collaboration with the jurist and scientific director Roberto Chenal begin and how did his role develop within the courses on the ECHR organised by Global Campus?

Roberto Chenal was my supervisor during the internship at the Italian Division of the European Court of Human Rights. It is in this capacity that I met him and was able to benefit from his expert and passionate guidance in learning about the Court and the European Convention on Human Rights. At the end of the internship, at the beginning of 2017, he proposed that I support him in organising the courses of the then EIUC, of ​​which he was already scientific director at the time. I thus got to know the reality of the Global Campus, in particular the team that takes care of the courses on the Convention, coordinated by Alberta Rocca, and I began to collaborate in the organisation of the courses on the Convention held at the Lido di Venezia headquarters. From 2018 to today, I have assisted Dr. Chenal in identifying the topics to be covered, in jurisprudential research and in preparing material for the lessons. Lastly, I had the opportunity to hold some lessons both as part of the general course, which takes place in spring, and during the refresher course, in autumn. Participating in the organisation of the courses allows me to keep the study of the Convention alive and, furthermore, to return to Venice every year and meet people who share the same values. From the debate and comparison with the latter always arise ideas for reflection and in-depth analysis of great depth and interest.

What value do you place on the importance of knowledge of the European Convention for the Italian legal profession and judiciary and how does this translate into the effectiveness of your work?

The European Convention on Human Rights represents an extraordinary instrument of innovation for domestic law jurists, be they lawyers or magistrates. In fact, there are many cases in which the Strasbourg Court, through its rulings, has highlighted the existence of problems in the internal legal system. These decisions have led to legislative amendments or jurisprudential changes, aimed at filling these gaps in protection: we can cite, as an example, the case of the Torreggiani ruling (TORREGGIANI ET AUTRES v. ITALIE, appeals nos. 43517/09 35315/10 37818/10..., 8.1.2013) in the matter of prison overcrowding, or the Godelli ruling (GODELLI v. ITALY, appeal no. 33783/09, 25.9.2012) on the right of access to origins, or even the Oliari ruling (OLIARI AND OTHERS v. ITALY, appeals nos. 18766/11 36030/11, 21.7.2015) on the absence of adequate legal protection for same-sex couples. Studying the Court's reasoning method, based on fundamental rights, therefore allows the jurist to see in perspective the gaps in the protection of rights present in the system and possibly to fill them, using the instrument of conventionally compliant interpretation or by raising questions of constitutional legitimacy, where a compliant interpretation is not possible.

Furthermore, this perspective is fundamental in an era in which an increasingly important role is attributed at the international level to the principle of subsidiarity, according to which it is primarily up to the national authorities to protect rights, with the European Court having to intervene only on a residual basis. It is essential, in fact, so that the growth in importance of subsidiarity does not turn into a decline in the effectiveness of the protection of fundamental rights, that national lawyers and judges increasingly act as those who first interpret and apply the Convention.

Can you leave a message to the Global Campus of Human Rights community?

After six years of collaboration with the Global Campus, I feel in some way part of this community, which I would like to wish to continue to believe in the importance of the protection of fundamental rights, in the awareness that it is a journey never completed, made of achievements, setbacks and sometimes, unfortunately, setbacks. But this should not discourage us or make us lose the strength necessary to continue on this path.

For more information contact our Press Office

Elisa Aquino – Giulia Ballarin – Andrea Cammarata

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