27 years since the murder of Paolo Borsellino

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On July 19th, Italy marks the 27th anniversary of the murder of one its most prominent anti-mafia heroes, Sicilian magistrate Paolo Borsellino, who was killed along with five members of his police escort by the Cosa Nostra organized crime group on this day in 1992.

Borsellino was one of the most important figures in Italy’s fight against the mafia and his death spurred campaigners on in the effort to bring the groups to justice. He and his colleague Giovanni Falcone, who was killed by a car bomb two months earlier, have become a symbol of anti-mafia efforts and their faces often adorn posters used in protest marches.

Both were part of Sicily’s Antimafia Pool, a group of magistrates set up to investigate Sicily’s mafia to share information and prevent any one investigator becoming the sole target of the group. The pair had also grown up together in the same neighbourhood, and Falcone recalled how they played ping pong and football games as boys — sometimes against classmates who would grow up to become infamous members of mafia clans.

Earlier this year, a number of magistrates, including two ex-prosecutors, are under investigation for a cover up in the inquiry and trials of the 1992 murder of anti-mafia judge Paolo Borsellino.

Carmelo Petralia and Annamaria Palma may face charges of complicity in aggravated calumny and having favoured Cosa Nostra during the anti-mafia investigations of 27 years ago.

The investigation was initiated by the public prosecution office of Caltanissetta, which has already indicted three policemen involved, Mario Bo, Michele Ribaudo and Fabrizio Mattei.  Part of the investigation was then passed to Messina’s public prosecutor Maurizio De Lucia who is also looking into magistrates Nino Di Matteo and Giovanni Tinebra, who passed away last year, reported Il Messaggero.

Borsellino’s murder in Palermo on July 19 1992 became a turning point in Italian history, coming a mere 57 days after the murder of fellow anti-mafia judge Giovanni Falcone was killed in Capaci.

The inquiry into misdemeanours in the original Borsellino muder-investigation are likely to last some time. In the next stage, 19 microcassettes which contain recordings from the time will be listened to on June 19 in Rome.

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