Bretea Streiouli orphanage, Deva Romania

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I came back from my working shift in Palermo, my wife was very upset for Marco’s behaviour.

"Listen Tito ..... I am really stressed out, I cannot bear weekly complaints made by the kids’ parents at school, how can’t they possibly control Marco. We explained it to the teachers that sometimes it is necessary to be very hard and strict.”

I have the impression that the present teachers are too permissive and you know how children are like….they tend to take advantage. The consequence is that children have very little respect for authorities and rules, and also they get their parents’ back up. Unfortunately if a teacher dares to raise her voice she may get a formal complaint by these hyper protective parents, who do not realise that they’ll soon be in the same conditions as the teachers.

“It is easy for you as you are hardly here, the truth is that I am left alone to fight against Marco and the school. They said he harassed girls at school in the girls’ toilet. One parent severely threatened him, but he did not even look scared, as if it was none of his concern.”

Where is he now?

“He is in his room, pretending to study.”

Marco ....!

"Yes dad"

Could you come here for a moment please, you have to explain to me why do not calm down ….how come you always put yourself into troubles at school?

"Dad I did not do anything. They are provoking me. A girl, who is at school with me even wrote a letter to me, I do not know what that means and what I have to do”.

Let me see it please.

“I am going to get it…. here it is

"Dear Marco, I am ....... and first of all I am writing to apologise to you and for something else you already know of, but I’d like to clarify. That day that I phoned and I told you I loved you, I meant it, but then the next day, at school, I could not talk to you, and then it seems that everybody knew about us.

I am writing this letter because I still love you, and I would like to kiss you a lot, but I see you I am ashamed and afraid and I cannot do anything. Also I did not say anything to you the other day, because everybody said that you said that I called you and then I could not say the truth.

If you still want me I want this engagement to be serious and you do not have to tell anyone, so I can give you anything you want. I already have a plan: in the morning if we have time, and during mid morning break, we can both go to the girls’ toilet, (you make sure nobody sees you) then we can kiss as much as we want.

If you talk about us and if you do not take our relationship seriously I’ll leave you. I love you .....!"

And we trusted the girls! For once he is right. We have to do something…we could ask for a meeting with the parents, or write to explain who Marco is and why he behaved this way.

"Yes we could but when! You are never here!"

Don’t say never, unfortunately my job forces me to be away 3 or 4 days a week, it is not my fault. I often work at Ciampino airport though, so I am not very far. I am aware you are doing the main part of the work, Marco is in the 5th grade at primary school, he decently learned how to speak and write in Italian and I’ll give you most of the credit for it. With regards to his behavioural problems the psychologist said it will take longer. Next month schools will be closed and we’ll all go on a nice holiday in Greece

"Without rubber dinghy!"

No please, going to Greece without a rubber dinghy is a torture for me.

“Ok I’ll accept, upon the condition you won’t go scuba diving for more than 2 hours per day. I’ll accept because I also enjoy beautiful beaches you can only reach by rubber dinghy”.

Deal, I think we both need a break. The phone is ringing, can you please get it?

“Hey it is your Radical party girlfriend”.

With a sharp laser-like glance my wife gave me the phone and went back to the kitchen.

“They are asking for money again, aren’t they?”

My friend Marco Pannella (I do not know him personally but, being a Radical party member since the 70s I believe I am his friend) always says that “if you believe in something you may be willing to give a penny for it”.

“Instead of thinking of us, you think of the Radical Party, your head is always up in the clouds. I understand that with your job you literally go up in the clouds We have just finished talking about the problems we have… I am sick and tired, I feel like a slave, I set the table, clear the table, wash the dishes and go to sleep”.

My wife hates politics, the truth is that she is jealous because I get passionate for Radical party battles. At the end of the day if we are a couple we have to thank the Radicals’ perseverance, great fellows, the only ones who actively work in politics and through the achievement of divorce allowed us to restart. I can still remember the first time I held a sign at via del Corso in front of the Socialist party headquarters. I wanted to tell Craxi – when he was still powerful – that he was wrong. We were a group of 100 people, I had never seen them before, anyhow I felt there was a subtle bond that linked us: the pride to peacefully protest and to defend an idea, a principle and almost the arrogance and presumption to embody the truth, the one which imposes itself, despite anybody and anything.

The “Casarini style group” was miles away and however it was a pack with no rules. It was disrespectful to the dignity of the pack of wolves living in my Majella where the “rules” are leaders

I quietly attended several Radical party conferences, as a mountaineer from Abruzzo I felt inadequate to take the floor in what I considered the temple of democracy. I could not understand why we were destined to be illegal. On the other hand, I considered myself lucky thinking .....they do not have a clue about what they are missing! I am very grateful to these fellows. If back in the 70s I had not found Radical radio, I do not know where I could end up. Perhaps I would have joined “Working class Power” perhaps next to Sergio D'Elia. Sometimes when I hear that Marco Pannella is a bit down and he is about to throw in the towel and become part of the average 2000 members of the Radical party, I feel like saying something to him – even if it is a little thing – at least he saved one, and I am truly grateful to him.

My wife cannot understand why I am a Radical party member, there is no way to make her understand that I am not financing a party, but my ideas and the type of government and life that I would like for me and my son.

"How much did you give them?" I added 50 euros and I also subscribed to the International Radical Party

“Now they have also made this up… you are crazy!"

We have to finance the referendum campaign for these stubborn Italians. The subjects are: magistrates civil liability, Trade Union regular deduction

"Who cares about magistrates civil liabilities!”

How can you say that? When I was in the Air Force if I destroyed an aircraft by intentional wrongdoing or gross negligence I could either end up in jail or I had to pay for it up to the third or fourth generation. These gentlemen bear no liability. If one of them send an innocent man to prison either by wrongful intent or gross negligence, the worst that one can expect is to be relocated or promoted to another assignment. And then allow me, they are misery guts. We all know that there are Brigate Rosse and Mafia and that being a magistrate is a dangerous position... …but please…even in my own small way I served my Country. We were 64 to complete the course at the Air Force Academy. In 10-15 years 12 died doing their job, they were 25, 28, 30 years old. We silently cried for them, with composure and control. They were aware their job was dangerous and they also accepted the extreme consequences for it. Honour to Borsellino and Falcone and the other magistrates who died carrying out their duties. I cannot stand the jackals and vultures who speculate and hover over the magistrates’ memories. If they do not want to do that job, they can change, nobody forces them to be there against their will.

"When you talk about politics you become unpleasant and bad."

The odd thing is that magistrates as well as holding their positions, do not want to be held responsible. Let’s take the case of criminal action being mandatory: an Italian style nonsense.

Is there anyone who doubts that criminal action is mandatory? Only in the Italian judicial system we feel the need of a written document stating that crimes require a mandatory prosecution. This is the essence of criminal justice itself. It is equal to say that it is mandatory to apply the law. I am not mistaken it is already clearly stated in the Italian Constitution.

“I see, but I don’t quite understand where the problem is, if it written it is much better, I think”.

Oh now my dear, the matter is rather subtle. If a prosecutor has ten cases or enquiries to work on, he should be responsible to prioritise his tasks on the basis of the degree of social danger and safety for the community

"Yes, sure, I think this is what they normally do."

This true but only to a certain extent, but they have a very powerful weapon which allows them to do what they want without bearing the consequences, they are not controlled by anyone apart from the self-ruling institution, which is a controller, but is controlled at the same time.

Its disciplinary measures are very rare, and then when they are taken they are often a promotion to a higher assignment as in the case of the public prosecutor who destroyed Enzo Tortora.

Let’s suppose that a public prosecutor has 10 cases to work on. One of them is referred to the Prime Minister. Accidentally-on-purpose the public prosecutor completes the work on that case exactly the evening before the International Crime Conference takes place. The Conference is chaired by the individual in question Mr Berlusconi. At this point the public prosecutor is ‘forced’ to send a notification to Mr Berlusconi for being subject to legal enquiries. The notification is sent because criminal action is mandatory, poor thing the magistrate would not like that, but crimes require a mandatory prosecution! The next day the whole world knows about the Italian Prime Minister is the chairman of the International Conference of Crime and he is also the object of such Conference.

The dauntless public prosecutor, in the Brigate Rosse and Mafia’s line of fire, responsibly takes this decision, which could also be taken by a computer, and he peacefully goes to bed, having fooled the Prime Minister and over 50% of Italians who voted for him. The prosecutor made an unexceptionable decision nobody could ever reproached him for, because criminal actions are mandatory.

There’s an exception to the rule though: it has been publicly stated and reiterated that Constitutional Court is the “mafia’s hiding place of partitocracy” (the term implies the concentration of power in the hands of political parties to the detriment of parliamentary democracy). I am saying the Constitutional Court. We are not referring to Caltanissetta public prosecutor’s office, but the highest degree of the judicial system. Has any court or prosecutor noticed that? It appears that, they turned the deaf ear on the ground that criminal action is mandatory, because perhaps something could have come out during the trial. In the US public prosecutors are elected, just like majors and if they show signs of misconduct they are sent home.

"Yes, but this system implies that the judicial power is dependent on the political one”.

In fact in the US public prosecutors depend so much on the political power as to charge several presidents, with a sight difference though: the prosecutors take the responsibility for their actions without hiding behind the principle that criminal actions are mandatory

Talking about independence, Italian magistrates deeply care about the judicial power independence from the political power, but within their organisation independent status is a marginal and negligible issue.

In fact, public prosecutors and judges have the same career, share the same offices, eat together, and often exchange roles. What kind of independence can be guaranteed in such a situation?

In the UK if a public prosecutor takes the lift with a judge is a national scandal.

"Well sorry but I am not with you anymore, I have the feeling that the situation becomes complicated."

Well I am not an expert either, but roughly things work as follows: to get justice you need a trial.

"This is reinventing the wheel, trial occurs every day, there is a public prosecutor, a defence lawyer and a judge who rules applying the law”.

It seems perfect, but there is a tiny detail to consider: in Italy legal proceedings go on for years. In theory it could happen that a magistrate is a judge in a trial in which he was a public prosecutor 10 years earlier. What kind of ruling do you think he’ll make? I cannot understand why they don’t separate professional paths between public prosecutors and judges. They only grant function separation which in theory already exists. By granting function division they imply that it is not widely applied in practice.

In principle and function-wise I cannot imagine why they do not keep a split profession. If you are not in good faith the issue appears to be rather trivial i.e. money and political favouritism, something which looks inconsistent with their boasted independence.

Did you know that magistrates are automatically promoted on the basis of their professional seniority?

“No I didn’t and I am not very interested”.

They all become presidents of a division of the Supreme Court of Cassation even if there are no vacancies for that position.

The same thing happened when I was in the Air Force. As there is no separation between administrative careers and executive careers in a flight group we were all lieutenant colonels. You could barely find a fresh lieutenant therefore even if I was the group commander, almost two third of my subordinates were my peers, even if I was functionally the oldest and you can imagine how different is to give orders to your peers or to a newly arrived lieutenant. The reason for this was not to economically penalised the personnel being the salary linked to the rank, therefore everybody had to be promoted….all colonels! All presidents of the Supreme High Court divisions! All magistrates, both public prosecutors and judges. In practice public prosecutors and lawyers do the same job and then ...why aren’t lawyers magistrates? In the US promotions are given according to merits and objective skills, separating administrative careers from executive careers. I could see it with my own eyes when I was there for the pilot course, the young and skilled lieutenant colonel, who was the group chief, earned a lower salary compared to his subordinate Major who was professionally 20 years older than him.

In ancient Roman Law there was a senior magistrate called tribuni plebis (tribune of the plebs or lower classes) an officer who protected the people’s rights, the poor people’s lawyer. His person was legally inviolable and sacrosanct. The current poor tribunes, I mean lawyers (I say poor but they are well paid) are mistreated by magistrates and by the current practice of legal proceedings

Someone should explain to me why public prosecutors are called ‘magistrates’ being, just like defence lawyers, part of a legal proceeding. The only real ‘magister’ is the judge. This is also demonstrated by current facts where judges are rarely influenced by public prosecutors.

Italian hypocrisy assumes magistrates have nothing to do with politics. It may be true for judges, but not for public prosecutors. Whoever is a part (party) necessarily is engaged in politics in the strict or broad sense of the term and whoever is engaged with politics can only be controlled by the people through elections. The proof that this category of magistrates are in politics is that voluntarily or at the end of their mandate, most of them end up in Parliament elected in their reference party or they create one on their own. This public prosecutors ambiguous situation causes huge disasters in the administration of justice.

In Italy there are three sets of proceedings (trial, appeal and Highest Court of Cassation) which may be five in case the Highest Court of Cassation invalidates a legal proceeding for defects of form and the proceeding starts again from the second grade. Magistrates trust one another so much that they need 5 sets of proceedings. Through a stringent and accurate application of the Code of Criminal Procedure we are almost certain to achieve the truth, even if it takes a decade! I would not be surprise at this point, if a further and final appeal were introduced …the Pope’s appellate jurisdiction as the Pope is known for being infallible.

Miles away from these Anglo-Saxon barbarians where trials take 2 or 6 months or even 1 year! They are cursory and not accurate…and they even elect public prosecutors who answer for their conduct to the people and not to those individuals of the Superior Council of Magistracy.

Here legal proceedings take 10 to 15 years, we pursue the right procedure and a diligent public prosecutor has to appeal and go to the Highest Court of Cassation…also because he does not pay for it, we do.

Therefore in Italy trial itself is a conviction for defendants charged with serious crimes, even before the judge’s verdict. How dares any lawyer doubt the seriousness and truthfulness of a public prosecutor-magistrate’s legal enquiries? He is just a tribune of the plebs, downgraded to lawyer, he has to deal with the client before he decides to appeal also because the client bears legal fees and trial costs.

In Italy as far as the judicial system is concerned we lack for nothing: we have a Democratic judicial system, and Independent judicial system and other school of thoughts I cannot recall. Why have we got a Democratic judicial system? Perhaps because defence is admitted during the trial? Why have we got an Independent judicial system? Is it because it does not depend on any law? I think that the only thing we haven’t got is a judicial system.

“Please…as they say in Naples my head cannot take it anymore, it is pointless that you wind up, people have more serious things to take care of and I do not think they have any interest whatsoever in magistrates’ split professions”.

Unfortunately, these are very serious issues, and it is a pity they are neglected, despite someone is raising hell just to remind us who is the ruling people.

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