Progetto InnocentI


The undersigned Attorneys Baldassare Lauria of the Court district of Trapani and Riccardo Olivo of the Court district of Rome, defence and holders of a special mandate from VITO ROBERTO PALAZZOLO, born in Terrasini on 31.07.1947, resident in Cape Town in the Republic of South Africa, on the basis of the attached mandate, and in terms of articles 629 and following of the Italian Criminal Procedure Code, herewith submit REVIEW APPLICATION
regarding the judgment handed down by the First Criminal Section of the Court of Appeal in Palermo on 11.07.2007, which became irrevocable on 13.03.2009, which partially reformulated the First Order judgment and sentenced Mr PALAZZOLO to nine years imprisonment, excluding ancillary penalties, for the crime of association to commit a Mafia type crime, provided for under article 416 bis of the Italian Criminal Code.
The conviction handed down by the Court of Appeal in Palermo, in respect of which this review is being requested, held that Mr PALAZZOLO had participated in a Mafia association called “Cosa Nostra”, together with several other associates. This was in fact a reformulation of the judgment handed down in the First Instance, which on the contrary had excluded the accused’s participation in the abovementioned Mafia association with the latter sentence, while holding that the conduct being contested against the accused was suited to an integration of external complicity in terms of articles 110 and 416 bis of the Italian Criminal Code, within the case in question.
But, before getting into the merit of the conviction judgment in question, we need to briefly trace the Applicant’s judicial history, which takes place before the Swiss and Italian Authorities, resulting in the Attorney General of Palermo repeating a criminal action that had already been heard and concluded with the judgments handed down by the Court in Rome in 1992 and the Criminal Court of Appeal in Lugano.
And more specifically:
IN SWITZERLAND, VITO ROBERTO PALAZZOLO was convicted with judgment handed down by the Criminal Court of Appeal of the Ticino Canton on the 26 September 1985, which was made final by the Swiss Federal Court – Criminal Appeal Court – on 3 May 1994. (Annex no. 10 and no. 11)
The judicial action began with an international warrant of arrest being issued by the Court of Rome on the 20.04.1984, which requested Mr PALAZZOLO’s extradition for the crimes under articles 416 bis and 416 of the Italian Criminal Code, and article 75 of Law 685/75. This request was refused by the Swiss Authorities so that they could try the Applicant together with other Swiss citizens involved in the same financial transactions, and this on the basis that the fact being contested had been committed in Switzerland.
The fact-crime of the Swiss proceedings is described in the criminal charges of the Ticino Canton Criminal Court of Appeal sentence of the 26 September 1985, with indications regarding the conduct and violations of the law being contested, which can be summarised as follows: In 1982, due to his position as Chairman of a Swiss financing company, the Applicant was involved in an investigation, relating to the transfer of funds from the USA to Switzerland on behalf of certain clients.
IN ITALY, as outlined above, before the proceedings for which an appeal is being sought under paragraph c), VITO ROBERTO PALAZZOLO was charged in two proceedings before Judicial Authorities, where the convictions were then “absorbed” by the judgment of the Criminal Court of Appeal in Lugano, related to the sameness of the facts that have formed the subject of the respective charges.
a) – With judgment dated 28 March 1992, the Court in Rome applied a sentence of two years imprisonment against PALAZZOLO, in terms of article 444 of the Italian Criminal Procedure Code for the crime under article 75 of Law no. 685/1975; while, in relation to the crime under article 416 bis of the Italian Criminal Code, the Criminal Court in Rome acquitted him with the formula “because the fact does not exist”. (Annex no. 5)
b) – With judgment dated 12 October 2000, the Court in Palermo convicted PALAZZOLO to 12 years imprisonment; this judgment was then reformulated by the Court of Appeal in Palermo with judgment on the 22.07.2003, which stated that the criminal action could not proceed due to the constraints of the previous judgment; and this related to the sameness of the facts that formed the subject of the conviction, with those that had formed the basis for the Swiss judgment (Cooperation Treaty between Italy and Switzerland ratified under Law no.367 dated 05.10.2001 in other words during the delay of the appeal process).
c) – With judgment dated 5.6.2006, the Court in Palermo convicted PALAZZOLO for external complicity to committing a crime in a Mafia type association, for the crime of external complicity in a Mafia association.
This judgment was confirmed quod poenam by the Appeal Court that re-qualified the fact as participation in a Mafia association, and this without any specific appeal being made by the Prosecution, on the basis of reasoning that will be discussed in further detail hereunder.
The charge contested in these last proceedings from both an historical and legal standpoint, appeared to be completely identical to what had been assumed against the accused in the proceedings detailed under heading a), which concluded with his acquittal.
So then the acquittal judgement from the Court in Rome constitutes the epilogue to the Criminal Proceedings no. 2289/1982 R.G. from the Court in Palermo, where VITO ROBERTO PALAZZOLO received a warrant of arrest on the 11.06.1985 because he had been accused of the crime of association to commit a crime, under article 416 bis of the Italian Criminal Code, together with a number of other accused: this refers to the proceedings that generated the historic and well noted proceedings against the Mafia in Palermo, or so-called “maxi-proceedings”.
That criminal action in fact has its consummation in the judgment handed down by the Appeal Court, which while deciding on the conflict of jurisdiction that had been raised by the Court in Rome that was actually proceeding for the same facts, gave jurisdiction to the Court in Rome, thus divesting the Authorities in Palermo from any jurisdiction in the matter.
For the sake of completeness, it should be stated that the thema decidendum relating to the violation of the ne bis in idem principle was dealt with in the conviction judgment that had examined the acquittal judgment from the Roman Court, but as will be seen hereunder, this last judgment was in effect only formally acknowledged, while in actual fact was not taken cognisance of in terms of its judicial and factual aspects by the relevant judges in the proceedings that we are interested in: thus making it possible for the Appeal Court in Palermo to build its “in peius review” from the acquittal judgement.
And in fact, the Judges from Palermo admit how a close examination of the Court of Rome’s acquittal judgment does not allow for a critical check to be done on the probatory material that is the subject of the review, nor of the hermeneutic criteria followed by that Court to reach the acquittal judgement…. with the entire motivation limited to the laconic and stony formula referred to above, included in a single line written in on the form. This motivation however appears contradictory seeing that in terms of the same judgment PALAZZOLO was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment in relation to the crime under article 75 of Law 685/75 (see par. 28).
So then, an exact reading of the Roman acquittal judgment and the supporting documentation – the novum of the review application – inevitably leads to a completely different result, which is incompatible with what was upheld in the conviction judgment.
But there is more.
In the part where the Court of Rome’s judgement applied the sentence under article 444 of the Italian Criminal Procedure Code for the crime of narcotics, it in fact constitutes a duplication of the judgment for the same fact that had already been handed down by the Criminal Court of Appeal judgment in Lugano on the 26.10.1985.
And in point of fact, with a subsequent judgment dated 31 March 1993, in applying the ne bis in idem principle, the same Court in Rome cancelled the sentence against PALAZZOLO in its judgment on the 28.3.1992 for the crime on narcotics, because he had served the sentence that had been imposed on him in terms of the Swiss judgment, given the identity of the fact- crime. (Annex no. 20)
It then becomes obvious how the question is not directed at the “re-evaluation” of a subject that was already the object of a judicial examination – and notoriously excluded in the context of the annulment hearing – but rather represents an error of fact that prevented the presiding Judges from recognising the apparent “confusion” between the Roman judgment and the judgment from the Court in Lugano.
Essentially, the novum of this review application is appropriate and directed at demonstrating firstly the unsubstantiated nature of those elements that resulted in the alleged perpetuating of PALAZZOLO’s association after 1992, the impossibility of proceeding with criminal action and the total legal incompatibility of the (different) outcomes that the judgments under headings a) and c) arrived at, after both had judged an identical criminal association, both in terms of its subjective and objective elements………



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