Anti-Silvio Berlusconi campaigners are celebrating a Constitutional Court ruling in Rome.
Italy’s top court has partially struck down a law that gives the Prime Minister and his cabinet immunity from prosecution.
“If he’s guilty, he will be judged guilty,” said Gianfranco Mascia, the founder of a group called Purple People. “If he’s innocent, he should be judged innocent. But he must be the same as everyone else. The law is the same for everyone.”
The Consitutional Court ruling says that judges will be allowed to decide on a case by case basis whether ministers should face charges.
The law had given ministers, including Berlusconi, a blanket exemption from going to court, on the grounds it would be an impediment to the carrying out of their official duties.
It is unclear how this might affect current cases, but three involving Berlusconi are reported to be near the end of their statute of limitations.
This is the legal time limit for the cases to be completed.