Wo(men) in Legal History edition:XIX AYLH location:Lille date:15-18 May 2014
The Banco di San Giorgio, a Genoese financial institution with public power, originated a colonial project on Corsica in the age in which they had sovereign rights (dominium utile) over the Isle (1453-1562).
In the analysis of the archival documents of the Chancellery, stored in the Archivio di Stato di Genova, we found criminal case law (querela) pronounced by Genoese officials within a hierarchical structured and sophisticated jurisdiction.
In our opinion, a particular case about the indecent assault of a young Corsican woman, named Louisa de Andrea, reveals a lot about the assessment of penal offences in this time stage both in a legal and cultural way.
The rapists, Biagio and Antionio de Cardeto, were banned (rebandimento) to Genoa (Terraferma) by the judge Nicolao Sauli in the first instance. However, the appeals judges, Fillippo Lomellino and Andrea Rebacho, declared the judgment null and void.
It is interesting to see how the traditional punishment of exile under judicial duress, discorded, according to the delegating servants (sindici e dellegati) of the Officio di Corsica, with the customary law of the Banco di San Giorgio.
Quite ironically, the indignity which Louisa de Andrea faced, was followed by the reversal of the humiliating sanction imposed by the Genoese officials according to new legal norms and standards.
In the historical context of colonization, we believe that the analysis of legal cases can deconstruct law as an instrument of subordination and social engineering of Corsican people.