The incentive-led legislation concerning the so-called pentiti and dissociati, first enacted between 1978 and 1980 and then implemented by the laws no. 304/1982 and no. 34/1987, was one of the various responses that the Italian State gave to terrorism. It may be regarded as the indulgent side of a policy based on both carrot and stick (the reduction of sanctions and sometimes immunity on the one hand; additional punishments on the other). Initially the lawmaker followed utilitarian criteria, requiring factual or judicial cooperation to those terrorists who were ready to relinquish the armed struggle; until 1987, however, disengagement was not sufficient to receive legal benefits. At the same time, the purpose to defeat terrorist organizations prevailed over any ethical or juridical objections. In Parliament, the incentive-led bills were supported by a very large majority. This legislation proved effective and was one of the factors that concurred to the crisis of terrorist groups. Violent attempts to discourage "repentance" and "dissociation"!made by those terrorists who rejected the offer of the State were useless. While analyzing all these aspects, this article also provides suggestions for a comparison between Italy and other case studies, such as France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
Keywords: Terrorism, armed struggle, penal code, pentiti, dissociation, Red Brigades, years of lead