July 17, 2024

Giovanni Falcone, Paolo Borsellino

The annual commemoration of Italian Judge Giovanni Falcone, who was assassinated in Sicily 25 years ago, was held on May 21, at Holy Rosary Church, with a Mass celebrated by Fr. Ezio Marchetto, followed by an address by Francesco Isgrò, senior litigation attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Giovanni Falcone, a prominent anti-Mafia magistrate was killed in 1992 on a road near Palermo along with his wife and bodyguards. Several months later his colleague and friend Paolo Borsellino was also assassinated by the Mafia.

Giovanni Falcone. Paolo Borsellino

The annual commemoration is dedicated to keeping alive Falcone’s legacy, his dedication to the rule of law and his selfless commitment to abolish the scourge of the Mafia.

At the conclusion of the Mass, Francesco Isgrò spoke about the necessity of remembering Falcone and mentioned some of the positive initiatives that have resulted since Falcone was assassinated.  “We know today that Giovanni Falcone did not die in vain,” said Isgrò. After his assassination the Italian government quickly escalated its fight against the Mafia, sending more than 7,000 soldier to Sicily to support the local police forces, said Isgrò.
The government also enacted a number of laws authorizing restrictive measures against Mafia prisoners, he said. In addition, Falcone’s assassination provided the impetus to the United Nations to adopt a convention to fight transnational crime. The UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime was adopted in 2000 and appropriately opened for signature in Palermo.

The Convention codified a number of Judge Falcone’s ground breaking methods, said Isgrò, among them specialized investigative techniques and the protection of witnesses. Cooperation between law enforcement agencies in Italy and the United States also increased significantly after Falcone’s death, he said.

The FBI erected a monument to Falcone at the National Academy in Quantico, Va. The bronze memorial was dedicated in 1994 by then-FBI Director Louis Freeh, who stated: “Here was a judge…who made a deeply personal decision to enforce the law with all its vigor, with all his strength — knowing full well that this commitment would place his very life in danger, knowing it could — as it did — lead to his murder.”

Isgrò concluded by citing a more recent development: a joint partnership between the NIAF and the Fondazione Giovanni and Francesca Falcone for two Fulbright scholarships in criminology.

After the conclusion of the commemoration, a reception followed at Casa Italiana. The event was sponsored by Holy Rosary Church, the Order Sons of Italy International Lodge, Casa Italiana Sociocultural Center, the Lido Civic Club, the Abruzzo & Molise Heritage Society and Voce Italiana.


Source: Voce Italiana, June 2017