Venice people sentenced Napoleon for war crimes

Symbolic legal hearing of Napoleon Bonaparte’s case took place in Venice. After questioning 18 witnesses dressed in XVIII  century outfit and listening to the prosecutor and defense, the court, in accordance with the contemporary international law, recognized Napoleon to be guilty in plundering and destroying Venice Republic having 1000-year history. The public in the big hall of the Venice Palace supported this sentence.

Napoleon who was General Bonaparte at that time, had a quick march across the North of Italy in 1796 and conquered all the small separate states. Then he united them under his protectorate, modernized their political and legal system and in this way established the conditions for “Rizordzhimento” – uniting Appenin Peninsula people under one country – Italy which took place 60 years later.

Among the states conquered by Napoleon was ancient “Republic Serenissima”. By that time it had already lost its power and cultural potential of XIII – XVI centuries when its war ships controlled all Adriatic area, its territory stretched from the Alps to Cyprus. It was famous with its masquerades, Tician and Veroneze created their masterpieces there.


In fact, Napoleon’s occupation only fixed the existing degradation of the republic. Moreover, his proponents assure that he brought new perspectives to the declining city. Nevertheless, according to the “laws of war”, he robbed many cultural and financial valuables. In particular, he destroyed the Venice military fleet and took the famous sculpture of St Mark’s horses to Paris (this sculpture was brought to Venice from Constantinople after its plundering by crusaders in 1204) and painting “marriage in Kana Galileiskay” by Veroneze. In a course of time, the hourses were returned to the pediment of St Mark Church in Venice, but the horses are still in Louver.  


The hearing of Napoleon’s case was arranged after an Italian bank and “Napoleon Society” purchased the statue of Napoleon with the intention to put it on the St Mark Square. However, the statue would not be allowed to be erected on this historic square even without conducting this legal hearing: it was placed in the museum of history of Venice.

Not everybody perceives this legal hearing as joke. This “joke” is in favor of ultra-rightists separatists promoting the idea of establishing “Padanskaya Republic” in Veneto region. They say this republic should have no authorities who are strangers to Venice people – the authority of Rome, mafia-driven Sicily, Yugoslavians,  Albanians, Kenyans  and other nationalities.

According to Reuters, businessman from Paduya Tulio Beretta, dressed in a cocked hat of XVIII century, said: "We have to liberate ourselves again. We don’t want violence, we are not Iraqis or Basks, we are civilized people. However, the world should know that we are still occupied!”


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Author`s name Pavel Morozov