Why are they commenting on it if there is no way to predict it
because they were asked to. The seven defendants were members of a government panel, the Serious Risks Commission, tasked with assessing the risks after hundreds of low-level tremors had rattled the medieval city in the months before the earthquake struck.
is in one of the links.
The big thing missing from the story is what was exactly said. If they said that these events (the preceeding smaller tremors) don't necessarily lead to a big earthquake, there would be a reasonable chance some people would take undue reassurance from their statement. Most people are very bad at understanding risk.
The prosecution accused them ".. of having provided an approximate, generic and ineffective assessment of seismic activity risks as well as incomplete, imprecise and contradictory information". But if there is no way of accurately predicting an earthquake then there is little more you can do than provide something approximate and fairly generic? I am instinctly of the view that it isn't obbviously the scientists who are misunderstanding the risks here.