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Palermo honours memory of judge killed in mob hit 30 years ago

The Sicilian city of Palermo commemorated the 30th anniversary of the death of judge and prosecuting magistrate Paolo Borsellino, whose relentless pursuit of justice against the Sicilian mafia, Cosa Nostra, brought on him the anger of the mobsters. Judge Borsellino and five police officers who served as his security detail were killed by a car bomb in front of the magistrate’s mother’s house.

The main commemorations took place on Via D’Amelio where a TNT-filled Fiat city car exploded and claimed the lives of Judge Borsellino and his police bodyguards. The hit occurred two months after another mob-planted bomb killed Judge Giovanni Falcone, Borsellino’s colleague and personal friend.

Borsellino knew that the mob has “marked him for death”, as he told in the last interview he gave several days before his death. He appealed, unsuccessfully, to the local police to tow the cars parked in front of his mother’s house.

Italian Minister for Education, Patrizio Bianchi was also present at the commemorations, and hundreds of children decorated a tree near the spot where Borsellino was assassinated with colourful ribbons. The tree serves as a monument to the slain magistrate and police officer and the colourful pieces of fabric symbolise the hope that the mob can be beaten.

Indeed, the death of the two judges has galvanised public opinion and shocked the authorities into action, although it still took many more years to seriously diminish the influence of the Cosa Nostra on the Sicilian political and business landscape. As Salvatore Borsellino, Paolo Borsellino’s brother said “We wanted to celebrate the 30th anniversary of victory over mafia,” but as he stressed, despite many legal proceedings, not all of those who were responsible for the wave of mob violence in 1992 and 1993 have been brought to justice, or even identified.

President of Italy Sergio Mattarella, who lost his elder brother in a mafia hit, honoured the two judges, saying that “The Mafia was afraid of them because they showed that it is not invincible and that the [Italian] Republic can defeat them with the power of law.”

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