Manslaughter trial of L'Aquila earthquake scientists will cause serious aftershocks

Dr Bernado de Bernardinis told residents to go home and enjoy a glass of red. Now he’s in the dock. AFP PHOTO/ TIZIANA FABI

This week, a committee of six scientists (including Dr Enzo Boschi, formerly president of Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology) and one government official, whose role was to advise the national government on matters of natural hazards, went on trial for manslaughter over the L'Aquila earthquake in 2009.

These are scientists of some distinction. Dr Boschi is one of the authors of a report, about to be published in Scientific Reports, on the Christchurch earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, the latter of which killed 181 people.

And yet, if convicted, the defendants face up to 15 years in jail.

So, what’s going on?

You’ll remember on April 6, 2009, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake killed 308 people in the Italian city of L’Aquila.

Filippo Monteforte/AFP