The Italian Constitutional Court and the constitutionality of the criminalisation of assisted suicide of patients suffering from serious and incurable diseases

DOI10.1177/2032284419872268
AuthorJavier Escobar Veas
Publication Date01 Dec 2019
SubjectArticles
Article
The Italian Constitutional
Court and the constitutionality
of the criminalisation of assisted
suicide of patients suffering from
serious and incurable diseases
Javier Escobar Veas
Universidad Mayor, Chile
Abstract
On 16 November 2018, the Italian Constitutional Court addressed for the first time the
controversial issue of the constitutionality of the criminalisation of assisted suicide of patients
suffering from serious and incurable diseases. In its judgment, the Court held that the crim-
inalisation of assisted suicide is not contrary to the Constitution, rejecting the existence of a right
to die, in line with the European Court of Human Rights case law. Nevertheless, the Constitutional
Court recognised that in cases of patients suffering from serious and incurable diseases, an
absolute prohibition on assisted suicide could run contrary to the freedom of self-determination
and the constitutional principles of human dignity and equality. The present note describes and
analyses the facts of the case and the reasoning of the Constitutional Court, especially the
structure of the argument and the new ‘decision technique’ adopted.
Keywords
Assisted suicide, euthanasia, right to life, right to die with dignity
Introduction
On 16 November 2018, the Italian Constitutional Court delivered its first decision on the contro-
versial issue of the constitutionality of the criminalisation of assisted suicide of patients suffering
from incurable diseases.
1
The legal problems posed by the ordinance 207/2018 are unquestionably
of great interest, both from a national and a comparative perspective.
Corresponding author:
Javier Escobar Veas, Department of Criminal Law, Mayor University, Santiago, Chile.
E-mail: javier.escobar@mail.udp.cl
1. Ordinance 207/2018. Available at: http://www.giurcost.org/decisioni/2018/0207o-18.html (Accessed 23 August 2019).
New Journal of European Criminal Law
2019, Vol. 10(4) 376–388
ªThe Author(s) 2019
Article reuse guidelines:
sagepub.com/journals-permissions
DOI: 10.1177/2032284419872268
njecl.sagepub.com
NJECL
NJECL

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT