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The Chief Prosecutor v. Theodor Saevecke

This case summary is being revised and will be updated soon

Court MilitaryTribunal of Torino, Italy
Case number 1619/96 R.N.R. - 0409/97 R.G.U.D
Decision title Sentenza
Decision date 9 June 1999
  • Theo Saevecke
  • Chief Prosecutor
Other names
  • Piazzale Loreto
Categories War crimes
Keywords Murder, Piazzale Loreto, war crimes, World War II
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Procedural history


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Related developments

Saevecke has never served his sentence because Germany, the state where he resided, denied his extradition to Italy. Saevecke died in Germany in 2004.

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Legally relevant facts

On 10 August 1944, 15 Italians, who were not involved in any military operations, were executed by firing squad as reprisal for a German truck explosion which occurred on 7 August 1944 in Milan, Viale Abruzzi. The explosion had not caused the death or wounding of any German soldiers, but rather the death of a number of Italian civilians.

Nevertheless, Theodor Saevecke, Captain within the German armed forces, Chief of Policy in Milan (the same role held by Kappler in Rome), ordered the public execution of 15 civilians, inmates in San Vittore’s prison, which took place in Milan, Piazzale Loreto.

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Court's holding and analysis

Fifty-three years later, the Military Court of Torino decided to examine this case in light of new documents discovered by the Office of the Chief Prosecutor (Pubblico Ministero) in numerous historical archives. These documents revealed Saevecke’s responsibility and his full culpability for the reprisal killings.

The Military Court of Torino, before the hearing was started, declared the accused to be in absentia. Therefore, Saevecke was charged with murder ("Violenza con omicidio in danno di cittadini italiani") for the events of Piazzale Loreto. Furthermore, examining all the facts and taking into account aggravating and extenuating circumstances, on 9 June 1999 the Court sentenced Saevecke to life imprisonment.