In a speech Friday, Ernesto Lupo, chief judge of the Court of Cassation reported on the state of the courts, the Italian news agency ANSA reported. He referred to Transparency International's 2012 Corruption Perception Index, released in December which put Italy in 72nd place among 176 countries.
Italy was behind Namibia and Rwanda and about equal with Bosnia. A year earlier, it was 69th on the list.
Lupo said it was "mortifying" for Italy to be ranked lower than "many non-European nations, even third world ones."
Italy has the third-largest economy in the eurozone but has been hit hard by the global economic crisis. Transparency International put Greece, with the most troubled economy in western Europe, in 94th place.