Mario Roatta (2 February 1887, Modena, Emilia-Romagna – 7 January 1968, Rome) was Benito Mussolini's Chief-of-Staff in Italian army and head of the Fascist Italy's Military Intelligence Service (Servizio Informazioni Militari). He is known to be on the list of Italian war criminals that Yugoslavia, Greece and Ethiopia requested an extradition of, but who never saw anything like Nuremberg trial, because the British government with the beginning of the Cold War saw in Pietro Badoglio, who was also on the list, a guarantee of an anti-communist post-war Italy.
Spanish Civil War 
Mario Roatta was fighting alongside Francisco Franco's forces in the Spanish Civil War where was made the Commander-in-Chief of the Corps of Volunteer Troops (Corpo Truppe Volontarie, or CTV), the Italian expeditionary force in December 1936 and his Deputy Commander was Luigi Frusci.
In early 1937, Roatta led Italian forces in the Battle of Málaga, a decisive Nationalist victory. However, he later played a leading role in the planning for the Battle of Guadalajara, a decisive Republican victory and Italian defeat.
War crimes against ethnic Slovene civil population 
In accord with the 1920s speech by Mussolini:
- "When dealing with such a race as Slavic - inferior and barbarian - we must not pursue the carrot, but the stick policy. We should not be afraid of new victims. The Italian border should run across the Brenner Pass, Monte Nevoso and the Dinaric Alps. I would say we can easily sacrifice 500,000 barbaric Slavs for 50,000 Italians.
- Benito Mussolini, speech held in Pula, 22 February 1922
Mario Roatta's "Circular 3C" (Circolare 3C), tantamount to a declaration of war on the Slovene civil population, involved him in war crimes while he was the commander of the 2nd Italian Army in Province of Ljubljana.
Under the commander Mario Roatta's watch the ethnic cleansing and the violence against the Slovene civil population easily matched the German with the summary executions, hostage-taking and hostage killing, reprisals, internments into Rab and Gonars concentration camps, the burning of houses and villages. Additional special instructions that included instruction that the orders must be "carried out most energetically and without any false compassion" were issued by Roatta:
- "(...) if necessary don't shy away from using cruelty. It must be a complete cleansing. We need to intern all the inhabitants and put Italian families in their place."
Following Roatta's orders, one of his soldiers in his July 1, 1942 letter wrote home: "We have destroyed everything from top to bottom without sparing the innocent. We kill entire families every night, beating them to death or shooting them."
According to historians James Walston and Carlo Spartaco Capogeco, the annual mortality rate in the Rab concentration camp was higher than the average mortality rate in Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald (which was 15%), at least 18 percent. According to Monsignor Joze Srebnic, Bishop of Veglia (Krk island]), on 5 August 1943 reported to Pope Pius XII that "witnesses, who took part in the burials, state unequivocally that the number of the dead totals at least 3500".
Escaping from Rome 
As head of the army's general staff, Roatta was in charge of the defence of Rome from the Germans after the armistice in September 1943, and escaped a German attempt to capture him at his headquarters at Monterotondo, fleeing to Brindisi.
Cold War and the British role in non-extradition 
Yugoslavia requested Roatta's extradition to no avail, and he along with the other Italian war criminals were never tried, as their German counterparts were at Nuremberg, for the crimes they had committed because the British wanted to bolster the remnants of the fascist government as a guarantee for an anti-communist post-war Italy.
The Italian public and media largely repressed their collective memory of the atrocities committed during the War, which led to historical amnesia and eventually to historical revisionism - two Italian film-makers were jailed in the 1950s for depicting the Italian invasion of Greece.
Trial for abandoning the defence of Rome 
In early 1945, Roatta was tried for his Fascist connection, for abandoning the defence of Rome, and for his involvement in the murders of brothers Carlo and Nello Rosselli  and sentenced to life imprisonment. He managed to escape Rome just before being put in jail and found asylum in Spain. The sentence for life imprisonment was overturned in 1948 but Roatta did not return to Italy until 1966. During his time in Spain, Yugoslavia requested him to be extradated but Francisco Franco always refused.
See also 
- Province of Ljubljana under the Italian Fascist occupation
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