Informations and abstract
Keywords: statute of limitations in criminal law; reasonable length of criminal trial; slowness of crim-inal trial; statute of limitations and protection of legal interests through the criminal law.
For at least three decades the statute of limitations has been at the centre of the debate on criminal justice in Italy. This can be explained, in the international context, by considering how in Italy, unlike in most foreign countries, the statute of limitations of the crime can occur during the criminal trial. High crime statute of limitations rates, with criminal proceedings in progress, are a symptom of an ineffective and inefficient criminal justice system. The author criticizes the thesis, widely supported in the current debate, that the statute of limitations would be a remedy to the unreasonable length of the trial – another evil of the Italian system – and proposes instead to separate the two problems. A trial of reasonable length, in fact, reduces the rates of statute of limitations of the crime and allows a more effective protection of legal interests, included the fundamental rights.