Assassination of Falcone and Borsellino
There were convictions of Riina and 360 mafiosi at the Maxi Trial. This was a blow to Riina as, although he was already a fugitive, he aspired someday to enjoy his vast wealth living openly as a free man. Riina pinned his hopes on the lengthy appeal process that had frequently set convicted mafioso free, and he suspended the campaign of murders against officials while the cases went to higher courts. The convictions were upheld by the Supreme Court in January 1992. The council of top bosses headed by Riina reacted by ordering the assassination of Salvatore Lima (on the grounds that he was an ally of Giulio Andreotti), and Falcone. Lima was killed on 12 March 1992
Investigating magistrates, Giovanni Falcone and his colleague Paolo Borsellino's prosecutions against the Mafia had meant they were under the constant threat of death. Both saw the murder of Lima as an indication they would be killed.
On 23 May 1992, Falcone, his wife and three police officers died in the blast of a huge improvised explosive device on a highway outside of Palermo. 57 days later Borsellino was killed along with five police officers in the entrance to his mother's apartment block by a car bomb. Both attacks were ordered by Riina. Ignazio Salvo, who had advised Riina against killing Falcone, was himself murdered on 17 September. The public were outraged, both at the Mafia and also the politicians who they felt had failed adequately to protect Falcone and Borsellino. The Italian government arranged for a massive crackdown against the Mafia in response.
Famous quotes containing the words assassination of and/or falcone:
“I cannot be indifferent to the assassination of a member of my profession, We should be obliged to shut up business if we, the Kings, were to consider the assassination of Kings as of no consequence at all.”
—Edward VII (18411910)
“One usually dies because one is alone, or because one has got into something over ones head. One often dies because one does not have the right alliances, because one is not given support. In Sicily the Mafia kills the servants of the State that the State has not been able to protect.”
—Giovanni Falcone (19391992)