To guarantee law and truth

Marco Pannella
Notizie radicali

ABSTRACT: Invited at the headquarters of "Metropoli" (1), Marco Pannella pledges to ascertain the truth in the trial of "7 April", an event in which many of the judges involved operate with a persecutory attitude, as "angels of death", and "outside of the republican, lay, civil and constitutional juridical culture", to the detriment of the justice system and of the democracy of the country. The alleged culprits have literally been lynched, and of all of them Toni Negri (2) has been particularly harassed. For these reasons the author, then Secretary of the Radical Party, expresses the intention to make Negri run for candidate at the upcoming elections for the renewal of Parliament. The "scandal" of the election of Toni Negri will force the justice system, after five years of "preventive" custody, to hold the trial against Toni Negri and the other defendants of the trial of "7 April", and will force Parliament to reduce the terms of preventive custody, adapting them to the terms of the European civilization.
(Radical News No. 33 of 3 September 1982)

On 8 April 1979, invited at the headquarters of "Metropoli", I wanted two of us to go: I went there with Adelaide Aglietta (3), former secretary of the Radical Party, and former member of the jury - in the conditions we all remember - of the first trial against the Red Brigades (4) in Turin. On that occasion, with extremely clear words, I pledged to ensure that the truth be pursued in the full respect of the rules of the Code and of the Constitution. Surrounded by many people who had come there with absolute beliefs, I said out loud that as far as the party and I were concerned, our only commitment would be the ascertainment of the truth.
In the following days I met Pertini (5). As the episode (which I would never have rekindled as I have never done to date) was made public years ago by the then press agent of the President of the Republic, I remember that as soon as I expressed by bewilderment - with the esteem, the confidence and the respect which characterized our relations at the time - for his telegram and for his congratulations to Judge Calogero, the President of the Republic said he was sorry for this mistake, and went so far as declaring that he wanted to resign for this reason....
Since then, on many occasions we have silently intervened according to the promises and the commitments of that 8 of April. Many could witness this: Scalzone, Piperno, Pace and many others.
Personally speaking, I am fully aware of having done so bearing in mind not only the constitutional presumption of innocence (the burden of proof is up to the Prosecution, and the judgment of the proof is up to the Court), but also the difficult conditions - psychologically, humanly and culturally - of judges who were forced to operate under the weight of stupid, wrongful and infamous laws, which are technically worse than the fascist laws, and of the criminal and murderous threat of an organized and motivated subversion.
In their very culture, in their political choices (and I am not necessarily referring to party choices), in their deontology, in their use of laws and regulations, of their discretionary powers, many of the judges involved in the affair of "7 April" have amply proven that they are operating in contradiction with the republican, lay, civil and constitutional juridical culture. Their doings represents a serious threat, and have caused severe damage to the justice system, to democracy and to the country.
Their persecutory fury has lead them (especially Calogero) to consider themselves angels of death, charged with the task of exterminating the beast, with an interior and practical attitude which is not very dissimilar - in cultural and human terms - from the direction followed by some of the founding fathers of the Red Brigades of Catholic and Communist origins.
The lynching of the image of the presumed...guilty has been infamous; the use of the mass media to destroy them in the name of the truth which they wanted to assert has been irresponsible and wrongful. The fury against Toni Negri in particular has exposed not only their humanity, but also their and our "justice system" to grotesque and barbaric figures.
The balance of force of the trial, the basis of the civilian codes of criminal procedure, have been massacred. The counsel for the defence's function of justice has been violently hindered. The right to be judged has changed into an anticipated expiation of the worst penalties.
We, who actively witnessed the shameful complicity not only of the culture and of the bourgeoisie, but also of the State and of its administration, with the post-1968 violence at the various moments in which it was rampant; we, who denounced the truth which is today evident of the alliance (and not only an objective one) between the State of the P2 (6) and the society of the P38s (7), we, who paid for the rigour and the force of our legitimist-constitutional, republican, antifascist positions and for our nonviolent beliefs and praxis with isolation and lynching; we, who have understood and to some extent covered, for a certain period of time, the all too human embarrassment of certain judges, and failed to condemn them publicly hoping that theirs was simply a momentary moment of weakness, we now say enough!
And we want to say enough not only with words, but also with articles. The democratic and civil trial system represents the organization which aims at the contradictory but common quest for the truth between the force of the defence of presumably non guilty defendants and the force of the prosecution of a State administrations which claims to be impartial.
This balance of force has been massacred, the rules of the game have been changed, the right-duty to be judged and to judge has been ridiculed.
This is why, already in the past, I publicly stated and repeat now as Secretary of the party, that if were to take part in political elections, I will propose to elect Toni Negri member of Parliament, as far as the responsibilities of the party itself are concerned. This fact, in its meaning and in the scandal of reflexions it will no doubts prompt, will represent an element of reintegration of the justice system. (But now I add: for every new violent and fundamentally fascist attack on civil and democratic law, we will answer by increasing the number of victims
who will become, as far as we are concerned, members of parliament in our place, representing the nation, passing laws, controlling and guiding the powers of the State).

Translator's notes

(1) "Metropoli": newspaper of the extreme left.
(2) Toni Negri: exponent of an extreme left political group, he was arrested and kept in prison for five years without a trial. Released, he was elected member of Parliament for the Radical Party.
(3) Adelaide Aglietta: currently President of the Environmentalist Group at the European Parliament. Former member of the Italian Parliament. Secretary of the radical Party in 1977 and in 1978, the year in which she was drawn to be part of the popular jury at the trial in Turin against the Red Brigades. Organizer of the CISA (Information Centre on Abortion and Sterilization) of Turin, she was among the protagonists of the campaign for the depenalization of abortion. In 1986-87, she was among the promoters of the referendum campaign for a fair justice system.
(4) Red Brigades: extreme Left clandestine terrorist organization which developed in Italy as of 1969. Responsible for kidnappings, the injuring and murder of magistrates, policemen and carabinieri, journalists, industrial and political leaders, in 1978 it kidnapped and assassinated the Christian Democratic leader Aldo Moro.
(5) Sandro Pertini (1898-1989): Italian politician. A socialist, he was arrested and imprisoned several times during fascism; member of the Resistance ('43-54). Member of the Constituent Assembly, president of the Chamber of Representatives ('68-76), president of the Republic from 1978 to 1985.
(6) P2: Masonic lodge headed by Licio Gelli. During the seventies, it was involved in a series of financial scandals and in obscure political manoeuvres. It was dissolved in 1981 at the initiative of the Government.
(7) P38: weapons used by members of Autonomia Operaia during demonstrations in the '70s.