Looking back at when Sicilian mafia Cosa Nostra assassinated Italian judges

REVISITED
REVISITED © FRANCE 24

Created on the island of Sicily in the mid-19th century, Cosa Nostra soon became one of the most powerful branches of the Italian mafia. In 1986, the Italian justice system launched a counter-offensive, with the Palermo prosecutor's office leading the charge. Judge Giovanni Falcone became a symbol of the fight against the mafia but on May 23, 1992, he was killed in a car bombing, along with his wife and three bodyguards. His colleague and friend Paolo Borsellino was murdered less than two months later. Three decades on, our correspondents report on how these assassinations by Cosa Nostra sparked an awakening and an ongoing fight against the mafia.

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Cosa Nostra (Italian for "our thing") is also nicknamed "The octopus" for its ability to infiltrate all aspects of society. The Sicilian mafia spread from Italy to the US in the 20th century, taking root in major cities like Chicago and New York, the latter famously depicted in the "Godfather" films. The mafia remains active, with thousands of members. But it is hated by many Sicilians for its extortion of "pizzo": protection money from businesses. Today, the fight against them continues.

Lia Sava is the public prosecutor of Palermo. She began her career as a judge in the civil court in Rome. But after the assassination of judges Falcone and Borsellino, she decided to come to Sicily to investigate Cosa Nostra and continue the work of her predecessors.
Lia Sava is the public prosecutor of Palermo. She began her career as a judge in the civil court in Rome. But after the assassination of judges Falcone and Borsellino, she decided to come to Sicily to investigate Cosa Nostra and continue the work of her predecessors. © FRANCE 24 / Louise Malnoy

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