Save Private Riccò

(To Andrea Cucco)

It is news in these days of the opening of an investigation by the Ministry of Defense regarding what happened, last 25 Aprile, on the occasion of the celebration of Liberation Day in Viterbo. General Paolo Riccò, tired of the offensive words of the provincial secretary of the ANPI - National Association of Italian Partisans, Enrico Mezzetti, who in his speech had at some point begun to criticize the soldiers on mission in Afghanistan, including the Italian ones , guilty in his opinion of killing more civilians than enemies, he abandoned the event.

In this regard, we interviewed the lawyer Marco Valerio Verni, an expert, among other things, in military criminal law.

Lawyer Verni, what do you think, to begin with, of what happened in Viterbo?

I think that in Viterbo another example of political exploitation of celebrations was consummated which should serve to remember important moments in our history, perhaps even with transpositions to the present, but without ever exceeding that limit that turns everything into political intervention.

Even the last Via Crucis celebrated by the current Pope, for example, has been criticized by many, having been warned, in many points, more as a political criticism of the current Government, especially in the field of immigration management, which as a retrace the moments that brought the Son of God, Jesus Christ, to die for us, to allow our salvation.

In Viterbo, mutatis mutandis, it may have happened that the limit was exceeded.

What is it referring to?

To what would have emerged from the press on the president of the provincial town of Viterbo. That is, after the local ANPI president, Enrico Mezzetti, accused international soldiers (including Italians) of killing more civilians than Taliban in Afghanistan, citing a UN report.

Meanwhile, if the reference is to that of the "UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan", of the 24 April 2019, perhaps it should be read, analyzed and reported as a whole.

And, anyway, what has it got to do with the anniversary of Liberation Day?

To all, it would seem to have been added an unaccustomed "bella ciao" choir sung during the ceremony. I don't think this is an institutional song, which has to do, formally, and by protocol, with the celebration in question.

To return to the parallelism mentioned above - if things went well - it reminds me so much similar situations in which priests, at the end of a mass, then in church, sang the same song.

The limits are being overcome, confusing roles, opportunities, circumstances. Everything, in short.

What does General Riccò risk, in your opinion?

But, look: given that, as an Italian and a retired officer, I very much agree with the work of the general in question, who, moreover, has a respectable curriculum, at the legal level I would like to recall that the Code of the military order prohibits expressly the participation of uniformed military personnel in political demonstrations.

The 1483 article of the Code of the Military Order, for example, entitled "Exercise of political freedoms ", states that:" The armed forces must in all circumstances remain outside theto political competitions. To the military ((who find themselves in the conditions referred to in paragraph 2 of the article)) 1350, it is forbidden to participate in meetings and demonstrations of parties, associations ((...)) and political organizations, as well as to carry out propaganda to favor or against parties, associations ((...)), political organizations or candidates for political and administrative elections ".

Well, I believe that General Riccò, well interpreting the changed situation that occurred at the time, according to which a solemn and institutional recurrence had been transformed, "on the field", into another, that is to say in a real political demonstration, however with tones very hard against the Armed Forces themselves, he decided to take the soldiers out there, placed under his command.

Why do you see, on the contrary I would have asked myself: and if, after those considerations on the Armed Forces, considered offensive and, in any case, of a political nature, those soldiers remained there?

Perhaps, among them, there were also veterans of those missions, which certainly weren't and not just easy at all. He stole them, in some ways, from enemy fire. As every Commander does. Moreover, it turns out, without raising the tone, but with sobriety, education and elegance.

At that time, those soldiers represented all the Armed Forces: precisely those born after the Liberation and the consequent constitutional order.

It is evident that, especially given the clamor, it is necessary to understand how things went. But not starting with the prejudice that the general was wrong.