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CORRUPTION OF THE JUDICIARY: A PLAGUE WITHIN A PLAGUE.

Federico Bergaminelli

18/03/2020

Editor's note - We propose again, also in these pages, some qualified considerations, still very actual, formulated in October 2018 by the President of the Italian Anti-Corruption Institute, Mr. Federico Bergaminelli, in relation to judicial investigations of great media prominence, for facts of corruption against magistrates.

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According to ISTAT, 7,9% of Italian families have been involved in corruption at least once.

According to the Global Corruption Barometer, 7% of Italians have at least once paid a bribe to access an essential public service.

According to Transparency International, Italy is the third last in Europe for levels of corruption (only Greece and Bulgaria are worse off).

According to Eurobarometro, 97% of Italians consider corruption to be a very or fairly widespread problem (in EU countries the percentage drops to 74%).

It is sufficient to look at reports like these and to pit the related number to effectively give an idea of what corruption represents in Italy today.

A country that should have risen from the ashes of Tangentopoli and where, instead, the systemic connotation of corrupt phenomena no longer spares any public and institutional sphere. With a criminal business volume equal to over 10% of the national GDP (a percentage which almost doubles in Sicily). And so much so as to have had the need to set up an independent Authority, Anac, purposely destined to the anti-bribes and anti-bribers crusade.

Chronicles now think about it, almost daily, to put us in front of an increasingly reticular, magmatic reality, an interweaving of power, abuse and specular discretion that testify how the levels of permeability and penetration have risen to sidereal heights. Such as to seriously jeopardize also the credibility and overall reliability of those who are called to avert, contrast and repress these phenomena.

And if, now, we have become accustomed to the performance of a political class that is today unlucky in tone, poorly literate in its contents, mediocre in its forms and questionable in terms of ethics, the less - much less - we are able to digest a certain progressive pervasiveness of malfeasance even in judicial circles.

The chronicles are full of investigations, which, in some cases, even lead to the arrest of magistrates. Without prejudice, obviously, to the sacred presumption of innocence of all the suspects and defendants until a final sentence, the signal that derives from this is, however, that of a judicial system with not a few, nor insignificant, rips.

The judiciary, both investigating and judging, determines - more than any other element of the mechanism of government and management of a democratic country - the destiny and freedom of every single member of that same community to govern and manage.

Rashes like these risk overflowing from the episodic to the systemic, at least in the overall perception, which is what conditions general trust and credibility. And consequent behaviour.

Men and women are the magistrates, just as men and women are the politicians: no one anointed by God, one like the other.

During a conference, where the writer had the opportunity to attend, the Deputy Public Prosecutor of Palermo of that period, Dr. Leonardo Agueci, underlined that "corruption is directly linked to power, it is a deviant expression of power, in the absence or serious lack of controls".

An impeccable axiom, formulated by a magistrate who, in his long career, has dealt for a long time precisely with the mafia-corruption plot. Nevertheless, it is precisely this power-control relationship that, today more than ever, also calls the togato world into question. Extreme protection in a rule of law.

During the same conference, the Deputy Public Prosecutor of Rome of that period, Dr. Michele Prestipino, pointed out that "the grey area and white-collar workers are the real problem of this country. If we want to counter these types of phenomena, we must put two issues at the centre: judicial repression and the ability of the world of the professions to clean up its own interior".

A balance which, however, jumps, when in that murky grey area also exponents of the judicial order end up.

Investigations that have also been reported recently show that, fortunately, no discounts are given to them either. This is comforting and reassuring.

The fact remains, however, that these events contribute to further undermining the credibility of a country where corruption is no longer just spreading: it is dramatically increasing.

 


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