The history of the civil service in Italy is linked to that of conscientious objection.
From the birth of conscientious objection to the approval of Law 772.
It was Pietro Pinna was the first conscientious objector in Italy.
In 1948, following his declaration of objection, he faced two years of faces imprisonment for 2 years.
Many other young people declare themselves conscientious objectors - especially Jehovah's Witnesses - and are sentenced by military courts.
But in 1965 with the trial of Don Lorenzo Milani, the objection comes definitively from the debate of a minority to enter the halls of Parliament.
For young objectors the "Letter to the Judges" - by which Don Milani defends himself against the apology of a crime - became the first guideline on conscientious objection: "If we listen to the theorists of obedience and to certain German tribunals, only Hitler would be answerable for the murder of six million Jews. But Hitler was irresponsible since he was mad. Therefore, that crime never happened because it had no perpetrator.
There is only one way of escaping from this macabre word play: to have the courage to tell the youth that they themselves are all sovereigns - thus obedience is no longer a virtue but the most deceptive of temptations - that they should not believe they can use it as a shield before men or God, that each one of them needs to feel as though they alone are responsible for all... "
Law 772 of 12.15.1972 for the first time in Italy "grants" to those who claim themselves objectors the right not to go to jail.
"Those who are obliged to leverage who claim themselves in all circumstances to be against the personal use of weapons for imperative reasons of conscience, may be eligible to satisfy the obligation of military service in the manner prescribed in this law .... Young people admitted to the advantages of this law must undertake unarmed military service or civilian alternative service, for more than eight months in relation to the duration of military service which would be required. "
The birth of the civil service
Aldo Capitini - a supporter of nonviolence, who paid by imprisonment for his opposition to fascism - spoke for the first time in Italy of community service. The concern of Capitini, immediately after the end of World War II - was to spread democracy and call a halt to fascism.
Among these "new" experiences Capitini proposed in 1948 the creation of the Civil Service, which must include the training of the population in non-violent techniques so that they can arrive at democracy
Therefore, the Civil Service was started in Italy in the 1960 by some national organizations (the International Civil Service, Christian Movement for Peace), and also had offices across Europe.
The experiences offered to young people from these organizations through "workcamps" during the summer helped to initiate and support innovative experiences in response to social marginality. Some of the places where workcamps took place are Comunità di Capodarco, il Gruppo Abele, Ospedale Psichiatrico di Basaglia etc.
These are the realities which have gradually become real alternatives to 'total' institutions within people with disabilities, young people with social problems, mentally ill were marginalized.
After the approval of the law about conscientious objection (1972), it was in fact these realities which became the places where civil service was undertaken by the first objectors.
In fact in 1974 the first institution to sign the agreement with the Ministry of Defense was the Comunità di Capodarco.
Furthermore, the discussions which started in the world of objectors included themes such as: reform of the assistance, participation in political choices, political social and economic causes that create marginalization and suffering.
It was a period like 1968, one where there was a culture of a critical conscience at base level, which revised contents and themes and became a heritage for young people and the working class and tried to bind them strongly to practices and organizations.
In the civil service Authorities where conscientious objectors are received, the time of analysis, of criticism to the system is often very strong, and is closely linked to the daily practice, to the closeness and sharing with those who live with difficulties and problems.
The experience of civil service proved in the end to be a significant effort to change the relationship between the State and citizens.
Lastly, the civil service also plays an educational role for the civilian population because of the experimentation of living and working, and life in common spaces, forming new and innovative relationships between people with different cultures and with other important differences.
From the point of view of companies
The organizations affiliated with the Ministry of Defence for the care of the objectors started to feel the need for a coordination that strengthens their position against a body that certainly is not helping them with the improvement of experiences based on non-violence and anti-militarism.
On July 24 1982 in Rome the CESC - Coordination of the Civil Service Bodies was born in Rome.
It is an attempt to give visibility to local authorities and those of reduced size to argue their case and to provide a suggestion of the innovative content of their experiences.
The founding organizations that signed the first agreement with the Ministry of Defence are the following: the Gavci of P. Cavagna, the Miri of Domenico Sereno Regis, the Comunità di Capodarco of Don Franco Monterubbianesi.
Michelangelo Chiurchiù was appointed as the First Secretary of CESC.
In the Statute it states: "The CESC is also committed to promote the authenticity of conscientious objection and to qualify the execution of civil service to help develop in civil society solidarity, nonviolence, and peace. Therefore, the CESC commits itself fighting against phenomena of exploitation by both entities and by the objectors. "
In the following months the CESC will be organizing meetings and will undertake networking with other national bodies (the Italian Caritas, ARCI, ACLI, WWF, Italy Our Salesian Provinces, Cenasca-ICFTU) in order to to start a co-ordination.
From these meetings was born the first National Council of Bodies of the civil service.
From this networking in Rome on 15th April 1988 a demonstration came about which brought together objectors and institutions to avert Ministry of Defence, which actually stood in the way of the development of conscientious objection and strongly advocated a new law that recognized conscientious objection as a "subjective right".
Only on July 15th of 1998, the new law on conscientious objection was approved by which, at last, the individual right of the objector was recognized.
In 1999 the UNSC was established - National Bureau for Civil Service, which is the organ that actually will handle on the experience of the SC.
In 2000 the law 331 was approved which in fact established the professional army, and stated that within 7 years the compulsory military service would be suspended.
In 2001 the law 64 was established in relation to the volunteering for the National Civil Service .