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Italy

The Mills case: A well deserved judgment

IN THE RADICAL PRESS / Il MANIFESTO

Silvio Berlusconi really deserved the judgment that the crime of corrupting lawyer Mills, key witness in other trials, expired [under the statute of limitations]. You could say that he wrote the judgment himself, as already occurred on 30 January 2008 for his acquittal for the offense of false accounting that Berlusconi had the foresight to substantially depenalise in 2002.

This acquittal was the fruit of his labours and the tireless work of his tailors in Parliament. In truth, many servants were deployed to save the Knight, Il Cavaliere, of the shame of having to make an account of himself before the justice system in response to the facts that the penal code considers criminal for most citizens.

The principal merit lies with the former Cirielli Law of 2005, with which the statute of limitations was was reduced for the good and lengthened for the bad.

But the witness Mills was convicted at first instance and on appeal for being corrupted by Berlusconi’s money and the Supreme Court, while confiming prescription…determined that corruption had occurred.

…Further efforts were needed. After the Constitutional Court quashed in 2004, the Schifani bill, which guaranteed the immunity of the Italians’ most loved prime minister, taylor Alfano had to design another suit of impunity for the premier (the Lodo Alfano), which was made in record time and entered into force in August 2008, just in time to remove Berlusconi from the trial of lawyer Mills, a trial that was heading for the conclusion before the Court of Milan.

When the second suit was torn off by an unrepentant, Constitutional Court in October of 2009, Berlusconi lost his temper in the face of such bad manners and ordered his tailor to make amends.

Because no further suits could be designed, instead cloth breeches were invented: legitimate impediment. This made it impossible for judges to go ahead with the trial so as to not interfere with the prime minister’s busy schedule of state affairs.

When, eventually, with diabolical perseverance the Constitutional Court, in January 2011, neutralized legitimate impediment, then there was nothing else to do, and Berlusconi was forced to go to court. But by then it was too late.

There is no historical president in Italy of a defendant that has worked so hard to escape the clutches of the law, to the point of having to repeatedly change the criminal law and criminal procedure in line with his needs for impunity.

It was a Sisyphean task, but it was worth it. Today Berlusconi may well claim to have written this
judgment in his own hand.

Il Manifesto 26.2.2011

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or @revoltingeurope

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