Berlusconi OKs Bill to Sue Judges
Critics say he's taking revenge on the system
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2011 12:00 PM CST
Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, right, waves as he arrives for an EU Summit in Brussels on Friday, March 11, 2011.   (AP Photo/Thierry Charlier)

(Newser) – Silvio Berlusconi has signed off on a measure that would allow defendants to sue judges and prosecutors for their mistakes, a move critics are calling an act of revenge on a legal system the prime minister has long tangled with, the Guardian reports. Italy's national magistrates’ association released a statement decrying the bill, calling it “a punitive reform whose overall intention is to undermine the autonomy and independence of the judiciary.”

The bill, which still has a long way to go to become law, would hold judges and prosecutors “directly responsible for acts committed in violation of rights.” Right now, defendants can sue the state, but not the judges directly. The move comes a day before Berlusconi is due in court on charges that he bought favorable testimony. The prime minister has often accused prosecutors of pursuing politically motivated cases against him.