The families of Cutro’s victims risk not being compensated


By John

The Road Victims Guarantee Fund does not consider it necessary to compensate the families of the victims of the Cutro shipwreck. This is what emerged today in the Court, in Crotone, at the opening of the second hearing of the trial against the alleged smugglers of the “Summer Love”, the boat which sank on 26 February last a few hundred meters from the beach of Steccato di Cutro causing the death of 94 people, 35 of them children, as well as a dozen missing. In the courtroom it was the lawyer Francesco Colotti, present on behalf of Giulia Bongiorno, lawyer of the Guarantee Fund for road victims, who opposed the summons brought by the defenders of the victims’ families, arguing that the vessel sank after having hit a shoal, had not been used for pleasure or used for public transport and, for this reason, cannot be subject to the Insurance Code. The Code regulates the intervention of the Fund, established at Consap, which has the aim of covering compensation to victims also for nautical accidents of boats that have an insurance obligation. The Court, chaired by Edoardo D’Ambrosio, will now decide on the exclusion request.

The panel ordered the postponement of the hearing in order to examine the request for the exclusion of the Fund. The civil party’s lawyers, Francesco Verri and Barbara Ventura, who had presented the request for a summons against the Guarantee Fund, reiterated their position. «I believe that the State – argued Verri – should take a diametrically opposite position, constituting itself and assuming its responsibilities, because that vessel, uninsured, was able to freely navigate in our waters until it sank on that shoal. The State – added the lawyer – had to enforce the law, which it did not do. The State itself, however, has solidarity obligations and therefore precise duties. For this reason it has established the Guarantee Fund for victims of road or nautical accidents. The fact that the vessel was intended for human trafficking does not exclude the intervention of the Guarantee Fund. The legislation that grants the fund does not apply only to negligent acts but also to negligent acts resulting from malicious conduct.”

«We cannot dwell – said the lawyer Ventura, for his part – on a literal interpretation of the law and there are no precedents. We believe, however, that there are all the conditions for the Guarantee Fund and the designated insurance company to be part of this judgment. Because the state could have intervened and it didn’t.”