Free Trieste


UNSC Resolution S/RES/16 (1947) is the first act regarding the independence of the Free Territory of Trieste and its international Free Port.

UNSC Resolution S/RES/16 (1947) is the first act regarding the independence of the Free Territory of Trieste and its international Free Port.

January 10th is the anniversary of UNSC Resolution S/RES/16 (1947). Together with the Italian Peace Treaty, signed on 10 February 1947 this is one of the two fundamental legal instruments, in force, establishing the Free Territory of Trieste and its international Free Port.

UNSC Resolution S/RES/16 (1947) approves annexes VI, VII and VIII to the Peace Treaty. They are about Trieste’s (current) provisional regime of Government, its Permanent Statute, and the international Free Port’s management.

Art. 3 of the Permanent Statute (Annex VI) establishes Trieste’s neutrality and demilitarization, and entrusts its military defense to the UN Security Council itself. In 1947, the UNSC exercised it through Trieste’s provisional Government, which, as for the present-day Free Territory, means the Government of the United Kingdom and that of the United States.

In 1954, when the Governments of the US and of the UK disengaged the local A.M.G. F.T.T. they split Trieste’s temporary civil administration and its military defense. The Italian Government became responsible of Trieste’s civil administration, and NATO became responsible of its military defense.

This means that Italian Armed Forces can only serve their duties within the present-day Free Territory of Trieste on NATO’s behalf, and in place of the UN’s blue helmets. This does also mean they are responsible of defending Trieste’s independence and neutrality.

Anyways, none of those agreements envisioned that the citizens of the Free Territory of Trieste would be subject to forced conscription. Trieste, being demilitarized, cannot have Armed Forces or send its men in NATO forces, not even for defense purposes.

However, only two years after taking office, the Italian Government’s Commissioner General forced the Free Territory’s people to serve in the Italian armed forces, on penalty of military prison. The decrees are stil in force.

Italian propaganda sealed it all, persuading many people of Trieste that Question Trieste was ultimately closed. Thousand were forced tho chose between emigration or submission. The few who weren’t fooled were silenced with either threats or retaliations.

This was a very serious violation of the fundamental rights of the Free Territory of Trieste’s people. Deprived of their own citizenship, forced to serve in the military of a foreign Country. The protection that should have been granted to the newly-established Free Territory was twisted in an attempt to sufficate it. All of this taking advantage of the Cold War Era’s tensions.

Even if the Cold War has ended, and even if Italy has suspended military service, from 1957 to 2005 dozens of thousands of young men from Trieste suffered forced conscription, deceived and deprived of their dignity, forced to swear an oath of loyalty to the State that was trampling over their rights.

Still, it is abuses that continue to our days, although in silence. As soon as they turn 18, Trieste’s young men are registered in the Italian conscription lists. From then on, if an international crisis ensues, they can be called into service (LINK).

In September 2012 I denounced to public opinion the question of Italian military service forced on the people of Trieste for the first time. That article gathered much interest. After denouncing such a flagrant human rights violation, committed by administering Italian authorities, Free Trieste took matters in its own hands.

Free Trieste initiated a class action seeking a compensation of the damages inflicted on Trieste’s people as they had to serve in the Italian Armed Forces. Despite many difficulties, hundreds joined this first legal action to redeem themselves from what, ever since they are aware of their legal rights, feels like an humiliation worth an occupation regime.

Such requests for the compensation of damages are serious accusations to the Italian Government and its local representatives in Trieste. For instance, the very Commissioner General (from 1963 a Commissioner in Region Friuli Venezia Giulia) who forced the young men of Trieste to serve in Italian armed forces extended to the administered Free Territory also Italian Law No. 848/1957, no less than the ratification of the Charter of the United Nations (Official Bulletin of the General-Commissioner of the Government for the Territory of Trieste No. 31/1957).

The UN Charter, in force since 24 October 1945, at art. 25 sets that UN Member States comply with “the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter”. This includes UNSC Resolution S/RES/16 (1947) and all rights of the Free Territory di Trieste that Italian administration has since long violated. Twice: once as Italian Government, then again as temporary civil Government entrusted wit the administration of the present-day Free Territory.

But this legal battle is important for one more reason: post Resisting military service was also page 42 in the file of case 840/14 (the trial against the citizens who demonstrated in defence of the Northern Free Port on 10 February 2014) with even the marks of Public Prosecutor Federico Frezza to highlight the most “subversive” paragraphs, however, in 2017 his interpretation was dropped thanks to law alone. No subversion (LINK).

The outcome of case 840/14 is an evidence that the citizens of the Free Territory of Trieste are protecting the rights of their State and of the whole international community over its Free Port by virtue of law alone: international law, the law of their own State, and even the law of the Italian Republic itself. Italian nationalistic lobbies, their corruptions and their mafias cannot prevail on the law recognized by the United Nations and by the legal systems of all States.

Translated from blog “Enviornment and Legality” by Roberto Giurastante