[JURIST] Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] deployed about 3,000 military troops [press release and materials, in Italian] to major Italian cities on Monday in a movement designed to reduce crime throughout the country. The plan [Art. 7a DL 92/08 text, PDF, in Italian] is part of a larger package [text, PDF, in Italian; press release, in Italian] approved by the Italian Senate last year, meant to reduce petty crime and Mafia activity and to slow illegal immigration. The relevant provision states:
A plan for use of a contingent of military personnel belonging to the armed forces, preferably carabinieri used in military or volunteers of the same Armed Forces specifically trained for the tasks to be performed, may be authorized to increase control of the territory, where appropriate, for specific and unique demands of crime prevention. This staff is available to the prefects of the provinces, including metropolitan areas and densely populated areas, under Article 13 of Law 1 April 1981, n. 121, security guards at sensitive sites and targets, as well as general patrol and patrol jointly with police forces. The plan may be authorized for a period of six months, renewable once, for a quota of no more than 3,000 units.Of the 3,000 troops, 1,000 will be stationed at immigration centers, 1,000 will protect sensitive sites and targets in Rome, Milan and Naples, and the remaining 1,000 will perform general patrols [troop assignments, PDF, in Italian]. AFP has more. ANSA has local coverage.
Italy has recently been criticized for its anti-crime measures aimed specifically at the country's Roma minority [JURIST news archive]. In late July, the Interior Ministry announced [JURIST report] that the government would rework plans to fingerprint the Roma, altering requirements to only include those who do not have valid identification cards. The decision was seen as a concession to intense criticism [JURIST report] of the fingerprinting plan by the international human rights community [COE statement] and Roma advocates [ERRC materials]. In early July, the Italian government began carrying out the plan [JURIST report] to record the fingerprints of thousands of Roma, including children, ostensibly to reduce street crime and begging.