JUSTICE REPUDIATED by Marco Pannella


ABSTRACT: On May 12, 1977 the police charged a crowd of thousands who were demonstrating peacefully in Rome in the collection of signatures for the "eight referendums against the regime": abrogation of the Concordat, of military courts, of crimes of opinion, of sections of the insane asylum laws, of the law giving the police special powers of arrest, of searches and the bugging of telephones, of the law providing substantial public financing of political parties, of the "Commission of Inquiry" - a special parliamentary court for provisional judgements on crimes committed by ministers.
A young woman, Giorgina Masi, was shot and killed while many other demonstrators were wounded by pistol shots. The minister of the interior denied that the police had ever made use of firearms. By means of a film showing a policeman firing repeatedly into the crowd and hundreds of photographs of armed police disguised as "autonomi" (1), the PR [Radical Party] nevertheless showed that Interior Minister Francesco Cossiga had lied.
A White Paper published by the Radical Party which collected the testimony of all those who had witnessed the brutal police assault demonstrated that there had been an attempted massacre and charges were brought.
On January 15 1979 the Public Prosecutor Giorgio Santacroce asks for the closing of the trial on the killing of Giorgina Masi and the dismissing of the case "because the perpetrators of the crime have not been discovered".
In the conclusions of the "White Paper", Marco Pannella severely criticises the judiciary for not holding any serious inquest and for upholding "reasons of state" in the face of the photographic proof and witnesses to the premeditated police attack on the demonstrators.
(White Paper of the Radical Party on the killing of Giorgina Masi and the other events of May 12, 1977: "Cronaca di una strage" [Chronicle of a Massacre] - edited by the Centro di Iniziativa Giuridica Piero Calamandrei - April 1979)


There is evidence, there is a blinding sun on the road to Damascus that shows the villains to be in the darkness of falsehood rather than in the light of truth and courage.
A judge who "gives way" to fear (not one who "is afraid"!) of the truth which is to be uncovered and proclaimed, is one who blasphemes against justice and against himself.
He is literally a renegade, a voluntary servant of violence and hence of death. He kills within himself and others the cult of possible justice and throws everyone into a horrible state of desperation, rage, rebellion, the destruction of all human and civil coexistence. He ends by immolating the order and power that he wants to save and from which he wants to be saved on the altar where he deludes himself of being able to sacrifice "merely" justice and truth. Thus he denies that honest "pietas" towards the victims of social events which is in the end the only human and civil reason for which a non-violent person can accept the sword of a public sentence lifted against any of his fellow men.

Even a judge who prefers to obey an unjust law - and one which in all honesty he believes to be so - is nothing but a servant of power. But when a judge disdains the law as such, violating it and evading it, to bury the truth or deny justice for reasons of state, or the Church, or of party, or politics, or cowardliness, or sloth, or felony - no one strikes as deadly a blow at life and peace so much as he.
There are such judges. It can happen that they are preferred, become "favourites". From then on they will always be given "better", "more delicate" cases. They will not risk the reactions of the guilty, and the violent guilty will not risk any punishment in direct proportion to the seriousness and horror of their crimes.
The fact that they exist is a weapon in the hands of those who slaughter people like Occorsio and Alessandrini.
If all judges were like Occorsio, like Alessandrini, at the time they were killed, what would be the point of eliminating them since there successors would be no different?
During this trial a judge told me one day: "But what am I to do? Do I send an accusation to the whole Roman - even the whole Italian - police force? To the minister of the interior, the police chief, all the superintendents and Carabinieri officials of Rome and Latium? But what am I to do?" I did not answer him; I waited for him to realise what he had just said, understood, presupposed. But the evidence had already blinded him; the truth was already clear to him, and he was afraid of it. And listening to him made me afraid.
On that day, May 12, there was to be an unlimited massacre.
A miracle stopped it from happening, which was the absolute determination of thousands of militants and citizens to observe the strictest active non-violence for different and sometimes contradictory reasons. A miracle brought about too by the majority of almost two thousand policemen and Carabinieri, deceived, frightened, and free from the hatred that it had been attempted to inculcate into them. They perpetrated hundreds of crimes, but nothing compared to what had been hoped for from them. Among them too there were supposed to be the fallen, the slain. The hands of killers had vainly been armed in the preceding days and weeks which would have allowed the government (and the Parliament) to impose the escalation of the "opposing" but also "identical" state and "private" kinds of terrorism, and to try using them to bring down the republic. After this miracle had been going on for hours, voices foaming with rage, with incredulous anxiety, finally screamed from the police radios the order which was supposed to have been kept unspoken: "Shoot, shoot, kill them!" We did not know it. It is the official court records which now tell us it. It is, today, these official records which cry out that someone in the end "obeyed" and killed. And the the killer of Giorgina Masi, and the organiser of the attack could not - the judge says - be discovered?
On the contrary, he has already been found. He is there in the records which have been already put together. He has a name. They have names. They exist. They are at work. They are powerful. Constantly more powerful.
The judge knows. He is frightened. He is condemning the truth, justice, life to be buried.
Inasmuch as the killers exist, inasmuch as it is proven, inasmuch as they have been found, it is useless to hold investigations. The case is to be filed away!
This is only one of the facts to emerge from the trial. It is only one of at least twenty facts which are equivalent and which have received the same treatment. That is to say an ignoble treatment.
I will not go further than this example. As for the others, let everyone find them for himself, present them, weigh them. This paper is already difficult to read. Its truths and clarity are unbearable. An attack is looming, is in progress that must be stopped. A worse one, infinitely worse than the physical one of May 12, 1977 since it threatens to be a new attack on legality on the part of the "justice". The infernal machine is again at work. Now other, or another power of the state must be devoured after the executive, the legislative, so that the assassins can be made safe and more powerful; so that Giorgina Masi shall be really dead once and for all, even the memory of her, even - if necessary - in those who remember and wait.
We have taken up greeting and talking to each other again: "Ciao, Pannella!" "Ciao, Cossiga!" "Ciao, Marco!" "Ciao, Francesco!" The university years; these almost thirty years, or twenty eight plus the last two. It's better that way. Now I know, we know, that I am not filled with anger, rancour, or hatred, but it is this period in which intelligence means sorrow and being right is a torment and the need to save justice and law. Justice and law require the truth about May 12, and we need it too. As long as there is a single Radical deputy in Parliament, he will not be able to forget on any serious occasion, even the apparently most extraneous and distant one, to make the name of Giorgina Masi resound in the hall and in the consciences of those present, until justice is done - at the cost of an infinite chain of trials, against us and against those who ordered the attack, the perpetrators of the killing, the accomplices of that time, of today and of tomorrow.
That is why this paper should be read, studied, distributed, remembered, digested, up-dated: so that there will always be more and more of us.
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TRANSLATOR'S NOTES

1) Autonomi - Members of autonomous political groups, generally rebellious youths of the far left.