Harm to the Environment in Italian Practice: The Interaction of International Law and Domestic Law
The award of damages for environmental harm in the Patmos litigation,1 as well as the claim set forth by the Italian Government in relation to the Haven incident,2 causes one to wonder whether Italian practice is consistent with contemporary international law and practice. The stance taken by the Italian Government as regards purely ecological damage caused by oil spills, which was upheld by the Court of Appeal of the Messina district in the Patmos case,3prima facie marks a notable departure from the practice of the states that are parties to both the 1969 Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (CLQ and the 1971 Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage (Fund Convention).4 The evaluation of Italian practice entails an investigation of complex issues of treaty interpretation and an in-depth analysis of the relationship between international and domestic law in the Italian legal system.
The vast echo that the Patmos case has had in the international community partly accounts for the special emphasis put on it in this Chapter. However, the____________________