Prosecutors condemned for power 30 years ago

There were prosecutors who fought against injustice. They fought until their death against the mafia, a’living power’ that boasted unprecedented power and a violent gang that did not hesitate to kill. The Mafia is a large, deep-rooted organized criminal group originating in the southern Italian island of Sicily. It is an organization that makes illegal profits by committing various crimes, such as assassination, contract murder, drug trafficking, smuggling, blackmail, fraud, gambling, money laundering, money-laundering, prostitution, etc. Some are engaged in legitimate businesses such as the real estate business and lodging business to develop their power.

Mafia, politics, government, and financial world collide
The two prosecutors went on a major investigation
707 prosecuted, 476 convicted
Abandoned imprisonment 19 life imprisonment in 2165
Mafia condemned, retaliatory bombing
Falcone and Borsellino prosecutors assassinated
Sicily names airport prosecutors
Anti-corruption investigation started right after the mafia investigation
5000 people prosecuted for’Mani Fulite’ investigation
Shake the politics and bring the ruling party to disband
Straight up justice with the blood sweat

Prosecutor Giovanni Falcone (left) and Prosecutor Paolo Borselino. Photo = Wikipedia

Mafia to’Living Power’ in Italy

Since Italy’s unification in the late 19th century, it has grown in power by collusion with political, relations, and business circles. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, they moved to the United States and expanded their power to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas. After World War II, the Italian Mafia powers grew into a powerful dark force that was difficult to control even public power as they took advantage of the Cold War and religion and received the protection of power. The Mafia has become in effect both a’living power’ and’an untouchable being’ in Italy.
However, the Italian sense of justice did not cool down. In the 1980s, prosecutors who thought that poisonous mushrooms could not be seen growing were finally pulled out. It is in Palermo on the island of Sicily, the home of the mafia. Local prosecutors, Giovanni Falcone (1939-1992) and Paolo Borsellino (1940-1992) are the protagonists. The two became prosecutors side by side as friends from childhood, and they worked together to eradicate the mafia. They boldly started doing what no one had been able to do or would have done before.

Prosecutor Paolo Borsellino's vehicle was destroyed by the mafia bombing in July 1992. [AP=연합뉴스]

Prosecutor Paolo Borsellino’s vehicle was destroyed by the mafia bombing in July 1992. [AP=연합뉴스]

80’s Falcone and Borsselino start investigating the mafia

They launched a massive investigation to wipe out the local mafia gang and began recruiting gang members who had been convicted of crime. The mob eradication began. The Mafia tried to grab the prosecutors’ ankles by mobilizing connections from the power class. However, external pressure did not work for Falcone and Borsselino.
Through persistent investigations, the two prosecutors identified the gap between complaints and cracks within the mafia organization. Using this, he succeeded in using some bosses as informants. Through the evidence and witnesses secured through them, they led to prosecution of Mafia bosses and gang members. The indictment titled’Abate Giovanni and 706 others’ and related documents totaled 8,000 pages. As you can see from the title of the indictment, the number of mob bosses and gang members indicted totaled 707. It was the result of persistent investigation over the years.

Following the historical investigation, on February 10, 1986, a century-old trial condemned the Mafia began in the Palermo District Court. This trial was called the’Maxiprocesso’, which meant a long-term proceeding against numerous defendants.

Investigative prosecutor Paolo Borselino's bodyguard vehicle destroyed in a mafia bombing in July 1992.  Reuters = Yonhap News

Investigative prosecutor Paolo Borselino’s bodyguard vehicle destroyed in a mafia bombing in July 1992. Reuters = Yonhap News

Mafia condemned by centuries of investigation and trial

The trial took place in an octagonal bunker-style court built with special sturdy walls inside the detention center. It was designed to be resistant to missile attacks. It was to prevent an armed mafia from invading or breaking a wall with a bomb and then breaking into the courtroom to rescue the boss and gang members. This sturdy court, reminiscent of a wartime shelter, vividly demonstrates how much courage it takes to condemn the Mafia.
The trial was ended on January 30, 1992 in the Italian Supreme Court. The court admitted to the charges of 120 murders, drug trafficking, violence and coercion by the Mafia. Previously, Italy legislated to be punished simply by joining a criminal gang to defeat the mafia, but this provision was also applied for the first time to arrested gang members.
As a result of the trial, 476 of the 707 mob bosses and gang members indicted were convicted. One of them died of cancer during the trial. The combined sentence of 338 people sentenced to imprisonment for abandonment was 2665 years. Separately, 19 seriously guilty mafia bosses were sentenced to life imprisonment. ‘Cosa Nostra’, which refers to the mafia that was playing on the island of Sicily, was finally judged by the law.

Prosecutor Giovanni Falcone.  Photo = Wikipedia

Prosecutor Giovanni Falcone. Photo = Wikipedia

Mafia retaliatory assassination sacrifices prosecutors

Then the mafia revealed its cruel nature. Retaliated for assassination. It was intended to prevent further investigation. On May 23, 1992, a bomb exploded in a vehicle, killing Prosecutor Falcone. It was an assassination by the mafia. But, rather than being scared, Prosecutor Borcelo spurred the investigation. The assassination could not stop further investigations. The prosecution tried to protect Borselino by attaching five bodyguards. But on July 19, less than two months after Falcone’s tragic death, Borselino, along with his bodyguards, was bombed and killed.

Paolo Borsellino test.  Photo = Wikipedia

Paolo Borsellino test. Photo = Wikipedia

The mafia expected that if the investigative prosecutor was removed, the tip of the sword towards him would be broken or dull. Both the public power and citizens were afraid to hide. However, the Sicilian authorities and citizens became more determined. The two prosecutors who died in opposition to the Mafia were named at Palermo International Airport. Palermo International Airport was renamed’Falcone Borsselino International Airport’. Everyone traveling to and from Palermo by air, including Mafia members, had to use the airport with the names of the two prosecutors clearly on it.

Palermo Airport site named after Prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Prosecutors Paolo Borselino.  Photo = Palermo Airport website capture

Palermo Airport site named after Prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Prosecutors Paolo Borselino. Photo = Palermo Airport website capture

Name prosecutors at Palermo Airport in Sicily.

Italy has a tradition of naming historical figures at airports. At Rome airport, Renaissance artist and scientist Leonardo da Vinci, in Venice, traveler Marco Polo, who dictated the Book of the East Named Galilei. However, it is unusual to give names of prosecutors who became victims of crime while practicing justice in their contemporary lives. This is how Italians and Sicilian residents honor Falcone and Borsellino prosecutors.
The War of Justice, sparked by prosecutors Falcone and Borsselino, led to an anti-corruption investigation of corrupt politics in 1992. On February 17, 1992, shortly after the trial against the Sicilian mafia, Antonio di Pietro, a young prosecutor of the Milan prosecutor’s office, arrested an official of the Socialist Party, who was participating in the coalition at the time, on charges of receiving a bribe of 7 million lira (about 4.25 million won). . This is the beginning of’Mani Pulite’, an anti-corruption investigation that means’clean hands’. The investigation of Mani Fulite has uncovered corruption charges of about 5,000 political, political, and financial figures across Italy. The Democratic Christian Party (DC) and the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) were dissolved in 1994 as high-ranking politicians were suspicious of corruption. With nearly half of the Senate and House of Representatives prosecuted, the justification for maintaining the existing political party disappeared.

Palermo's Maximal Court trials the Mafia.  Photo = Wikipedia

Palermo’s Maximal Court trials the Mafia. Photo = Wikipedia

Mob investigation, anti-corruption investigation lit up

The Italian parliament was paralyzed and nearly 400 local parliaments were dissolved. 1200 people were convicted. As a result, Italy has undergone a major restructuring. Debt politicians who enjoyed power and bribery based on their vested interests had to go to jail or disappear. After World War II, the first republic of Italy, which was established in 1948, collapsed and the second republic was established.

Mafia boss Toto being arrested.  He died in prison on November 17, 2017.  AP=Yonhap News

Mafia boss Toto being arrested. He died in prison on November 17, 2017. AP=Yonhap News

Show that power and violence are not forever

The war against crimes fired by Prosecutors Falcone and Borsselino shook Italian politics. The two prosecutors were voted’The Greatest Hero of the Last 60 Years’ by Time magazine in 2006. At the 25th anniversary memorial service held in July 2017, President Sergio Matarella commemorated the two prosecutor heroes, saying, “The mafia has shown that it is not an inevitable evil, but a crime that can be defeated.” It means that the two prosecutors have shown that power and violence are not forever. President Matarella is a family member who lost his brother, former governor of Sicily, to the Mafia. On November 18, 2017, three years ago, Salvatore Lina, who was nicknamed “Toto U Kurtu (the small Toto)” and “La Bellba (the beast)” Il Capo dei Kapi (the boss of the bosses) as the leader of the Sicilian mafia, was incarcerated. After his death in Evil, twilight began to linger in the era of evil. Lina was arrested in 1993 on charges of ordering the murder of 100 to 200 people, including two prosecutors.

Snapshot of the mafia boss Toto.  He died in prison on November 17, 2017.  AP=Yonhap News

Snapshot of the mafia boss Toto. He died in prison on November 17, 2017. AP=Yonhap News

Sicily, where the mafia was running under the protection of power, was purged with the blood of two prosecutors. The bell of justice, which they started ringing, spread through anti-corruption investigations throughout Italy, leading to cleaning up Italy stained with fouls and privileges. Anti-corruption investigations in Italy are still ongoing.

In-Taek Chae International Reporter [email protected]


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