Dear foreign correspondents, now that justice has freed an American citizen who had been accused of murder and sentenced to life behind bars without reliable evidence, many of you (with the notable exception of flaky gossip maven Barbie Nadeau) have at last realized that there is something seriously defective in the Italian Justice system and the Italian media.
It has been necessary for you to come over from the United States, and elsewhere in the world in person, in order to discover for yourselves that not everyone in the Justice system here behaves like Cyrus Vance Jr. Very often Italian Justice does the exact opposite, finding people guilty before having the evidence, or without evidence at all. But hey, better late than never.
For years we have been trying to explain to you that Italy’s biggest problem is not Silvio Berlusconi, for all his enormous defects and outstanding conflicts of interest – not counting his many public virtues and private vices, as the saying goes – but a Media-Justice “inside the Beltway” complex that has turned Italy into the very opposite of a country under the Rule of Law.
You didn’t buy the story about Jessica Rabbit, the delightful, loving and loyal girlfriend who was mysteriously transformed into a S&M Venus in Furs figure, a sensual She-Devil capable of inflicting intense physical pain onto others in order to enjoy her own perverse sexual appetites.
There is already a person who has been condemned for the murder of Meredith Kercher who plea-bargained for a relatively light sentence and accused Amanda and Raffaele for the mischief, but now what emerges overall as the salient features of the whole business are the badly bungled police investigation and the grotesque trial procedures.
The Lord Above may know the truth of all things, but all of you laid siege to the Perugia Courtroom because you knew that a guilty verdict has to be based on serious and reliable evidence, and not on hare-brained crime novel fantasies dreamed up by a self referential gaggle of local journalists who find it impossible to take a detached attitude to the whole case.
And while we’re on the subject, how about the nine – yes, that’s nine – trials to which (the alleged murderer) Adriano Sofri was subjected, thanks to which he has already spent 15 years in jail and under house arrest, in the most rigid personal respect of “Justice”: the person who accused him of ordering the killing of a police chief insists that he went to see a priest to confess what was on his mind, but as soon as the first trial started it emerged that he – the chief witness for the prosecution – had spent more than three weeks, but secretly, in a Carabinieri police station, having his case against Sofri teased out of him at his leisure.
Instead of annulling the trial and apologizing formally for false arrest, the Italian Justice system insisted on carrying out all full nine trials, including an acquittal followed by surreal considerations by a judge hostile to the decision of the jury, in a series of outrageous conclusions plucked out of the air. And then a new condemnation.
As with Amanda Knox, Adriano Sofri “had to be” a killer, he “had to” have commissioned a killing that he never in fact did commission. His guilt was decided for him by bloodthirsty armchair judges of the Right and the Left, by biased investigators and prejudiced judges. You chose not to listen to us then either.
Now think about this. Since 1993 the most serious and the most urgent problem in Italian public life is the one regarding Justice, especially of those magistrates who conduct politically-motivated personalized crusades against their arch-enemy Berlusconi. A few years ago we published a pamphlet in English recounting the facts of that year, a year of “Judicial Terror”, when many of the political parties that had been co-signatories of Italy’s universally revered 1948 Constitution, were liquidated thanks to politicized elements of the Justice system.
The credibility of our Justice system is beyond a joke, in a country where the value of impartiality is almost zero, where it takes years to receive compensation (if you are lucky, that is) for the miseries inflicted by judicial oppression, reinforced as it is by a lamentably kafka-esque cultural reflex in the country at large.
You dont like Berlusconi, he’s too explicitly Italian for you, and above all, he is a champion of a lifestyle that you don’t accept as a valid one. Fair enough. Your freedom to form and hold your opinions about him is as dear to us as any other kind of freedom of speech. But do you really accept the fact that it is not “the people” who judge him, nor a system of Justice celebrated “in the name of the people”, but courtrooms full of people playing politics, who for the last 17 years have hated him as an interloper who has usurped the rights of the pre-established dominant elites, and who wish to defeat him through means of dubious legality? Your Amanda, our Berlusconi and Sofri: to each his or her own “hostage to Justice”, his or her own indignation or sadness in response to certain ugly judicial spectacles.
Every now and again the Wall Street Journal or the Economist raise principled objections to the Italian Justice system, against a backdrop of many other European publications who seem incapable of overcoming their own prejudices. But this is not all: this is a country where the chattering classes corrupt the hearts and the minds of the common people, in which a certain dominant class of functionaries and newspaper publishers – not to speak of the gurus of televised justice – every day tell us the fairy story of “Big Bad Berlusconi”, of a “Wicked Political Class”, and a supremely virtuous “Civil Society”, and as often as not, the Rome-based of the various European and American media outlets fall for it. After the Perugia sentence, don’t you think its time to stop believing in fairy stories?