How much hypocrisy about the Brusca case

(To Avv. Marco Valerio Verni)

Yes, how much hypocrisy it is necessary to witness, in these hours, following the release of Giovanni Brusca, mafia boss, very loyal to the head of Cosa Nostra, Toto Riina, who later became a collaborator of justice, after admitting his role, among other things, in the tragic massacre of Capaci, where the judge Giovanni Falcone, his wife, and some agents of his escort lost their lives ( whose recurrence, however, was celebrated a few days ago) and in the terrible killing of the baby Joseph DiMatteo.

And this hypocrisy, of course, is expressed, in particular, by some part of the political world, attentive many times, by now, apparently, to the race for “likes” on social networks, to empty proclamations, rather than to the substance of things; to run after the news of the moment, complaining about something that is wrong or that has not gone, forgetting that he - that world - must be the one to lead, decide, prevent, run for cover and therefore also be the first responsible when something "is wrong" or "has not gone".

That the former boss of Cosa Nostra would be released these days, in fact, it was what known for some time, but, on the other hand, it was foreseen by the mechanism that he had accessed when, several years ago, he had decided to collaborate with the justice system.

The declarations of indignation by the victims' families and ordinary people are understandable - God forbid, and we will return to them.

But those of some politicians do not seem to be: the latter, in fact, should act without waiting for the media hype and, in any case, they should act. But they have accustomed us to words, often, and nothing more. And to the inconsistency.

A few weeks ago, for example, our Constitutional Court had expressed itself on the very important question of life imprisonment, which is a subject strictly connected to the one discussed here, stating that it "Making collaboration the only way for the condemned to recover freedom" were "In contrast with articles 3 and 27 of the Constitution and with article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights", establishing "To postpone the discussion of the issues to May 2022, to allow the legislator to take action that takes into account both the peculiar nature of the crimes connected with organized crime of the mafia type, and the related prison rules, and the need to preserve the value of collaboration with justice in these cases "1.

Yet, beyond a few comments, we still have no idea how we want to intervene on this delicate matter, in the face of its announced unconstitutionality. Yet, the warning signs, in this sense, had already been there, if only one thinks of some previous judgments, both of our own Court of legitimacy2, much of the European Court of Human Rights3.

For non-experts on the subject, this institution (that of life imprisonment), born from the ideas of Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, at the beginning of the 90s4, concerns the particular type of prison regime5 which, unlike what happens for "common life prisoners"6, excludes from the applicability of penitentiary benefits (conditional release, outside work, bonus permits, semi-liberty), for what concerns us, the perpetrators of particularly reprehensible crimes such as organized crime, terrorism, subversion, where the sentenced person does not cooperate with the justice system or such cooperation is impossible or irrelevant.

An institution that, since then, has allowed, precisely, the collaboration with the justice of various mafia members, who have thus contributed to making investigators understand the internal mechanisms of Cosa Nostra (and not only), intertwining with the political, institutional, social and even Masonic world, complete with names and surnames even of well-known people, who, otherwise, would have hardly been discovered or, perhaps, would have known each other in (further) delay, when perhaps it would have been all useless because everything has already changed.

Let's be clear: here we do not intend to sanctify a category of people who, in any case, have committed heinous crimes, but, between lights and shadows, the contribution generally provided by them in contrasting the mafias seems undoubted.

Just as it is clear that, in some cases, the choice to collaborate, precisely, with justice, is dictated, for some, by "opportunistic" reasons, that is linked, to the only way recognized to them to win the perpetuity of the sentence.

But in a war - and that against the mafias certainly is - it is necessary, in some moments, to be cynical and to look at the objective: on the other hand, the same law - which could be, in some ways, not right, but in others opportune - has no interest in ascertaining theanimus of those who decide to "jump the barricade" and access to penitentiary benefits or conditional release is reserved for collaborators only when their revelations are such as to prevent the criminal activity from being brought to further consequences or the concrete help rendered the police or judicial authority in the collection of elements is decisive for the reconstruction of the facts and for the identification or capture of the perpetrators7.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, it is also true that, in order to remainanimus mentioned above, some others, on the other hand, have probably made a conscious and genuine choice, not free from dangers, if only we consider that, in the face of the aforementioned, above all family members who remain in the outside world are put at risk, exposing them to the most reprisals. extreme.

Without considering the other difficulties with which the latter, who are not always "participants" in the actions of the relative - and indeed, seem to be, in some cases, the first promoters of the "change of direction" of the latter - can be faced: from the search for a job to the possibility of studying (and knowledge, as they say, is often the first weapon against crime), to other things.

Well, it is clear the urgency of having to run for cover, given the "recall" of the Constitutional Court mentioned above, but this must be done in the right way, certainly taking into account, that is, the points highlighted by the aforementioned, as well as, as well mentioned by the European Court of Human Rights, but without crumbling, the regulatory system of the cd double track mentioned above, including the so-called 41 bis8 (or hard prison), which, as mentioned, has meant so much in this difficult and ever-changing struggle without quarter and, above all today, without borders.

A year (this is the time frame granted by the Council) passes quickly and the matter must be reasoned well: the paradox could be that, if the current system is dismantled, or if it is put into action in an improvised way, in fact, it could end up anyway with allowing those who have committed the serious crimes mentioned above to be able to access the aforementioned penitentiary benefits without, on the other hand, having actively collaborated, as is now required in the aforementioned terms9.

And we come to the families of the victims: closeness. Total. One cannot but participate in the dignified pain and dismay, which is that of all good people.

One cannot but remember the words of Falcone's sister himself, Maria, according to which "Humanly it is news that pains me, but this is the law, a law that my brother also wanted and therefore must be respected" and make his wish "That the judiciary and the forces of order monitor with extreme attention in order to avert the danger of committing a crime again, given that we are talking about a subject who has had a very tortuous path of collaboration with justice"; or those of Nicholas DiMatteo, brother of little Matteo, mentioned at the beginning of this writing, according to which “Brusca is out due to a state law, a law that Giovanni Falcone wanted, the magistrate that Brusca himself blew up in Capaci. I am used to respecting the laws and judgments of the judges and this time too I respect the decision but do not ask me to share it or accept it. I can't take it, the pain is too great "; or the bitter despair of the widow of Antonio Montinaro, Tina Martinez, for which "The State has made fun of me today, I am disheartened and pissed off, 29 years later I still don't know the truth about Capaci and whoever pushed the button and destroyed my life is back free. It didn't help what happened in Palermo. I need a state that protects us not free criminals. I am bitter for all those people who were in Palermo a week ago to make fun of us, they knew that Brusca would go out and the same came. I hope the next one. have the dignity not to show up in Palermo to commemorate Capaci "; to which is added that of John Paparcuri, driver of Judge Rocco Chinnici and the only survivor of the massacre of 29 July 1983, one of Giovanni Falcone's closest collaborators, according to which "Precisely because we are in a state of law and if the law provides that these killers, who later became collaborators, are entitled to benefits, like a good soldier, but reluctantly I take note of it and make a reason for it, even if it is very hard. .. very hard "10.

But, returning to the concept of war, mentioned above, it is necessary to remain lucid, and to distinguish the human and ethical level (on whose evaluations we are all unanimously in agreement) from the technical-juridical one: on the specific case, on the other hand, also intervened of the magistrates, also engaged in the front line against the fight against the mafias, who underlined some points11.

Among them, the prosecutor of Messina Maurice de Lucia, according to which “The law on collaborators of justice has proved to be a fundamental tool in the deconstruction of the mafia. Giovanni Falcone, who was the creator of it, was well aware of the costs in terms of suffering for the victims of the mafia that the approval of such legislation would entail. But he also had clear what damage to the mafia they would have and the collaborations of some top members of Cosa Nostra did ", adding that "The facts have shown that Giovanni Falcone was right and that this mechanism worked and works. After all, it was precisely the collaborations with the law that allowed, not only to identify the authors of some of the most heinous criminal acts in the history of Italy. , but also and perhaps, above all, to make it possible to investigate the levels of co-interest that Cosa Nostra has with the worlds of entrepreneurship, professions and politics ". Concluding that "After all, reward systems for those who collaborate with justice are present in all democratic systems, even in those that do not provide for a severe penal regime like ours. It is obviously more than understandable the upset of those who have seen their families killed by criminal action by these individuals. The fact remains that legislation on collaborators of justice is indispensable ".

This was echoed by the former president of the senate and former national anti-mafia prosecutor Pietro Grasso, for which "There is no form of do-goodness or forgiveness on my part towards Giovanni Brusca: in addition to everything you know, the murders and massacres in which I lost colleagues and friends, I would also have strictly personal reasons to hold a grudge. and other collaborators told, among others, two episodes that concerned me directly: the organization of an attack in the autumn of 1993 that was supposed to blow me up while I was going to visit my mother-in-law in Monreale and the planning of my son's kidnapping . I understand and respect the pain and anger of the victims and their families deeply. Yet I do not see scandal in yesterday's news, which has been known and expected for many years " Then adding: “I am afraid of the indignation of many politicians who understand very little about the penal code and the fight against the mafia. If they really did what they say, which is to reduce the discounts for those who collaborate with justice, it would decrease the incentive to repent. If we add to this that we are trying to limit the life imprisonment, and I will work to ensure that this does not happen, we can also declare the chapter on the contrast to Cosa Nostra closed. On the contrary, we need strong penalties for those who help the State and the prospect of life imprisonment without discounts for those who do not collaborate ".

To remember, in this context, also the words of another family member of an excellent victim, Catherine Chinnici, MEP and daughter of Rocco, promoter of the anti-mafia pool killed by Cosa Nostra on 29 July 1983, according to which "A law has been applied that has brought results but on whose cost-benefit ratio for the State in the fight against the Mafia, perhaps today a reflection in an updated key should be reopened. It is a law in force, but naturally from the human profile this awareness coexists with that endless pain that for me, as for all the other relatives of the victims of the Mafia, returns today to be felt with all its enormous weight ".

In short, the State needs to return to considering the fight against the mafias as a priority, but to do this it also needs a political decision-maker capable of facing old and new challenges, without fear and without mincing words.

The current political class, which unfortunately has already shown, in many cases, evident limits, is called to a very important challenge: because, beyond the proclamations, there is a war that does not admit truce, distractions, waste of time, but it requires strong, concrete, courageous and coherent positions.

As for the families of the victims, their deaths, which are those of all good people, have ensured that important results were achieved against this hateful phenomenon that the healthy part of civil society abhors: it must be reiterated loudly, and to cling to them. , especially at this time.

Falcone himself, aware of being able to be killed one day, evidently, knew well that, in a bitter and mocking paradox, he could one day find his own family again having to mourn the release of his killers, where he were "repentant": but precisely in this lies further proof of the enormous heroism of this figure who, together with the other martyrs (all equally important), who fell on the field for all of us, constitute an example to be honored and to look at with humble admiration and concrete concreteness.

2 See, for example, sentence no. 135/2013 or n. 253/2019.

3 See, for example, the sentence given in 2008 in the case of Kafkaris v. Chypre, or the one made in 2013 in the case Vinter et autres v. Royaume-Uni or, lastly, the one that concerns us most, issued in 2019 in the Viola v. Italy.

4 DL152 / 1991 (converted into Law 203/1991).

5 This institute is provided for by art. 4-bis of the current Penitentiary System.

6 That is, those who have not committed a first-tier crime, that is, pertaining to organized crime, terrorism, subversion, who are allowed to request the early release (i.e. the reduction of the sentence of 45 days per semester of the sentence served if the inmate has given proof of participation in the re-education work pursuant to art.54 of the criminal order) and, according to a logic of treatment progression, aimed at the re-education of the offender , access to award permits, to work outside, to semi-liberty and, lastly, to conditional release.

7 See art. 58-ter of the Penitentiary Law.

8 See the law 10 October 1986, n. 663 (so-called Gozzini Law).

9 In this regard, see also what was declared by the current director of the CSM, Nino DiMatteo"Giovanni Falcone was a statesman who, faced with such a complex phenomenon as Cosa Nostra, managed to conceive an equally organized and strong reaction, both as a judge in Palermo and just as effectively as director of criminal affairs in Rome. Where he conceived a regulatory system and inspired a legislation approved between 1991 and 1992, which unfortunately today, also as a result of some judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and our Constitutional Court, are being dismantled. (…) Objectives are being achieved which were also those of those who organized and carried out that attack. These include the abolition of life imprisonment, intended as an end to the sentence never. (...) There are many of those mafiosi who carried out the massacres who are still alive, have followers in Cosa Nostra and also hope to be able to get out of prison, at least to be able to obtain benefits such as conditional release. There is a risk that someone participated in the massacres of Capaci and via D'Amelio, and that he was arrested for the first time between the end of 1992 and 1993, in a year, despite not having undertaken a path of collaboration with justice, can access penitentiary benefits. I think it's like killing Falcone and all the other victims of the massacres once again". (Source:

10 Statements taken from: at this link, several others can be read, which, likewise, one can only humanly adhere to.

11 Ibid.

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