2016 — Italian Parliament passed legislation punishing any person who illegally sell organs from living people with severe sanctions and stiff prison terms

In its December 23, 2016 issue, Gazetta Ufficiale della Repubblica Italiana reported that Legislation n. 236/2016 had been enacted into law by President Mattarella on December 11, 2016. This follows the passing of bill n. 2937 by the lower house of the Italian Parliament, the Chamber of Deputies, on November 23, 2016. The bill n. 922 was originally introduced to the upper house in 2013, and was passed in the Senate of the Republic on March 4, 2015.

The cornerstone of this legislation was the introduction of a new Article of the Penal Code, Art. 601-bis “Trafficking in organs taken from a living person”, which imposes severe sanctions, heavy fines and stiff terms of imprisonment for anyone dealing with organs taken from living persons.

Art. 601-bis “Trafficking in organs taken from a living person”

“Anyone who illicitly trades, sells, buys or in any way and in any capacity, procures or treats organs or parts of organs taken from a living person is punished with imprisonment from three to twelve years and with a fine of 50,000 euros per euro 300,000. If the act is committed by a person who practices a health profession, the sentence is followed by a perpetual interdiction from the exercise of the profession.”

Two further articles within the same legislation amended legislations from 1998 and 1999 as appropriate. Article 4 completely repealed legislation n. 458/1967, which had specifically dealt with live kidney transplants; an explicit abrogation was deemed necessary to eliminate potential light penalties given to kidney traffickers, compare to those who dealt in other organs.

The legislation came into effect on January 7, 2017.


Timeline of Passage of Legislation n. 236/2016, incorporating Art. 600-bis of the Penal Code

4 July 2013 Bill n. 922 introduced into Senate of the Republic
4 March 2015 Bill n. 922 passed unanimously by Senate. More info here
9 March 2015 Bill n. 2937 introduced into Chamber of Deputies – Permanent Commission (Justice)
23 November 2016 Bill n. 2937 passed by Chamber
11 December 2016 Legislation n. 236/2016 signed off by President Sergio Mattarella
7 January 2017 Legislation n. 236/2016 came into effect


Original Legislation in Italian