Thirty years after Judge Falcone’s murder: The Mafia is not invincible


On 23 May 1992, 500 kg of explosives hidden underground blew up the car in which the Italian judge trying to destroy the Cosa Nostra was traveling.

Members of the Italian government read the news of Falcone's assassination in 1992.
Members of the Italian government read the news of Falcone’s assassination in 1992.getty
  • justice Italy begins a “macro-process” against the mighty Calabrian mafia

Giovanni Falcone He was convinced that the Mafia was “by no means invincible”. “It is a human act and like all human acts There is a beginning and there will be an end“. 30 years ago today, two minutes before six o’clock, there was a huge explosion on the part of the Palermo highway on which Italy’s most famous judges were traveling. Five hundred kilograms of TNT and ammonium nitrate were planted. A water pipe buried under Giovanni Brusca on orders from Capo tot Reina activated the detonator from a nearby hill.

The bomb blew up the car in which Falcone’s three escorts were traveling: they all died. In the second vehicle, also a white Fiat, were Falcone and his wife, a magistrate Francesca Morvillo. Both were ejected and died almost immediately. The driver, Giuseppe Costanza, seated in the back, survived, as did the other three agents who were in the car that closed the procession.

at the place of slaughter one meter deep pit And the jumble of bones, stones, and metal. The National Institute of Geophysics, in charge of monitoring Etna’s beating, recorded the tremors on the road leading to Palermo airport. Thirty years later, a giant stone pillar commemorates the curve on which Falcone was murdered. Next to it grow some olive trees whose fruits are used to obtain the oil used for anointing in Sicilian churches. As if the pain of some injustice could lead to the birth of a holy sacrament.

“No one dared to tell me anything. I found out what had happened to Giovanni on the news one Saturday afternoon in May, while making a cake for his birthday: with cream and strawberries, as my mother used to make, because Giovanni was born when it was strawberry season.” Judge’s sister Mara Falcone recalled this in the book she had just published, ‘The Legacy of a Judge’, to tell three stories in one, of an eternal duality, turned into a symbol of a man and of a country that finally woke up in 1992.

,The assassination of Falcone was a collective blow to Italy“, confirms Rocco Cyrone, professor of sociology of the mafia at the University of Torino. After the murder was announced, hundreds of citizens went to the judge’s house in Palermo, and gathered in the shadow of the thousand-year-old ficus planted next to him. The judge has since Messages are hung from its branches in memory of M. The tree has become a place of pilgrimage and man, if not a legend, is a kind of national hero.

crowd consciousness

Falcone’s ‘brother’, his ally and right hand, paolo borcellinoIt was next on the list. Less than two months later, on July 19, he was killed in a car bomb attack outside his mother’s house. with her five escorts, In January of the following year, the man who ordered the two murders, Salvatore Reina, Cosa Nostra’s most famous capo, was arrested while waiting in his car at a traffic light, thanks to a tip from a police informer. . Tot Riina died in 2017, aged, ill with cancer and without ever remorse, in prison where he was serving a life sentence. Giovanni Brusca, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for activating the bomb that killed Falcone, was released last year, five years ahead of schedule, after benefiting from a reduced sentence for cooperating with justice had gone.

After the death of Falcone,Increased awareness about the menace of mafia, but also the focus of politics and institutions. Italy equipped itself with very sophisticated and advanced equipment to deal with organized crime, some designed by Falcone himself, such as the DIA—the Directorate of Anti-Mafia Investigations—an organization dedicated to the investigation of the mafia into the best of the various police forces. brings skill. a national level”, explains Cyrone, who underscores that from that moment the Sicilian Mafia began to lose power, and perhaps for this reason, “to change strategy,

“Nowadays he takes very little recourse to violence, prefers to adopt the methods of corruption Or look for alliances to infiltrate the legal economy,” explains Cyrone. Furthermore, in the 1990s with the focus of justice on Cosa Nostra and Sicily, the Calabrian mafia, ‘Ndrangheta, seized the opportunity. Now they have prominent positions in drug trafficking. And, above all, it is the criminal group that has shown the greatest potential for territorial expansion both in the northern regions of Italy and abroad”, concludes Cyrone.

Six years before his death, in February 1986, Giovanni Falcone managed to try about half a thousand defendants associated with the Cosa Nostra. The room where the Palermo maxi-procedure took place took seven months to build. there was one Huge concrete bunker, capable of withstanding missile attacks. For the first time, Italian judges were confronting the mafia organization as the great structure it was. Nearly two years of trial resulted in 19 life sentences and 2,265 years in prison for various mafia bosses and ‘soldiers’. It took Italy more than 30 years to test again of such magnitude. It was 2021 and over 350 suspected gangsters and corrupt officials who were charged were linked to ‘Nrgheta’. That process isn’t over yet.

The mafia is not invincible, it has a beginning and will have an end, Falcone said. The sentence did not end here: “Rather, we must realize that this is a very serious incident and that it can be won, not by demanding valor from defenseless civilians, but by devoting the best forces of institutions to this fight. ” Thirty years later, the fight continues.

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