Italy Commemorates 20th Anniversary of Death of Anti-Mafia Prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino

Wed, 05/23/2012 - 04:43

words by Gabi Logan

Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino were two key members of the antimafia pool who, risking their lives, worked tirelessly to investigate the mafia and convicted more than 300 criminals during the famous "Maxi Trial" in 1986 and 1987. They were murdered in separate bombings in 1992 (May 23 and July 19).

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the Capaci massacre, when a bomb planted by the mafia underneath highway 29 between Palermo and Palermo's airport killed Giovanni Falcone, his wife Francesca Morvillo, and their three bodyguards, an act of revenge for the conviction of dozens of mobsters in the Maxi Trial.

Falcone pioneered the technique of following the “money trail”, contributing crucial evidence to the investigation of the Gambino crime family’s pizza parlour heroin fronts.

Behind the prosecutors' killing was mafia boss Salvatore Riina who is now serving a life sentence in prison for sanctioning the murders of Borsellino and Falcone, as well as for many other crimes. In 2007, Sicilian prosecutors opened a new investigation into Borsellino’s assassination and allegations by his brother that Italy’s secret services were involved in his murder. However, the investigations on the "mandanti occulti", the still unknown persons outside Cosa Nostra behind the magistrates' assassination, has not reached a conclusion.

ANSA, the Italian National Associated Press Agency, has created a photographic exhibit at Palazzo Branciforte in Palermo, Sicily, entitled “Falcone e Borsellino vent’anni dopo” (Falcone and Borsellino Twenty Years Later) reconstructing the lives of the two men from birth to death through photos from the ANSA archives, images contributed by the subjects’ families, and video footage from RAI Sicilia. Italian President Giorgio Napolitano will inaugurate the exhibit, which will run through September, today at 5.00 pm.

Television specials have honoured Falcone and Borsellino for the last week, including La7’s “Vi perdono, ma inginocchiatevi” (I forgive you but kneel) based on the book of the same name, Rai 3’s documentary “Ho vinto io” (I won), and Rai 1’s film “I 57 giorni” (The 57 Days) about Borsellino’s last days after Falcone’s death.

Rai 1 will broadcast the parade of the national magistrates and Italian National Chorus live today and Sky Tg24 is dedicating the entire day to special interviews and segments dedicated to Falcone.

Falcone and Borsellino's killings produced widespread revulsion in Italy and the two men are viewed as heroes and symbols of Italy’s fight against the mafia.