Since the end of World War II, several prominent families, such as the Bontade, Inzerillo, and Badalamenti families, have fought over the throne of the Sicilian mafia empire on the Italian island of Sicily, known as Cosa nostra. In a unique event, the seventies and eighties of the last century witnessed a rapid rise of the mafia originating from the rural Corleone region of Sicily. Thanks to Salvatore Riina, the Mafia descended from Corleone was able to seize Palermo and Sicily, coinciding with its removal of the largest families, following a group of assassinations of the Cosa Nostra crucifixion that affected influential figures Stefano Bontade and Salvatore Inzerillo.
In addition, the assassinations led by Cosa Nostra extended to many judges and security men who tried to clamp down on them. After their success in eliminating Judge Cesare Terranova, his colleague Rocco Chinnici, and General Dalla Chiesa, the Sicilian mafia carried out a successful assassination against Judge Giovanni Falcone, who was then considered a prominent national figure in Italy. .
The grand trial
Continuing what Terranova, who was killed in 1979, and Kenichi, who was killed in 1983, did, Giovanni Falcone tended to crack down on the Sicilian mafia that was led by Salvatore Reina, also known as Toto Reina. After his success in interrogating Tommaso Buscetta, one of the most important leaders of the former Cosa Nostra, who rebelled against the authority of Toto Reina, Giovanni Falcone announced the start of a major trial against the most prominent mafia men who had been convicted by Buscetta’s statements and confessions.
In addition, that period witnessed the issuance of summonses and imprisonment against about 475 people closely linked to the Sicilian mafia. Meanwhile, the security raids resulted in the arrest of more than 350 wanted persons, while 119 others remained fugitives, including Toto Reina, thus starting the process of their trial in absentia.
After hearings, on December 16, 1987, the Italian court issued prison sentences against 360 people, including 19 life sentences, and acquitted 114 others.
Because of this trial, Giovanni Falcone brought to himself the hostility of the Sicilian mafia, headed by Toto Reina, who received a life sentence in absentia. Hoping to take revenge on him, the Sicilian mafia began preparing for the assassination of Giovanni Falcone and a number of his companions.
On May 23, 1992, the Sicilian mafia managed to end the life of Giovanni Falcone, who became a hero in Italy because of his important role against the mafia, as part of what was known as the Capaci massacre. With water drainage pipes under the highway linking Punta Raisi airport and Palermo, the Sicilian mafia men placed about 600 kg of explosives. As Giovanni Falcone’s convoy of three Fiat Croma cars passed by, a Sicilian mafia man known as Giovanni Brusca activated the explosives via a remote control.
The Capache massacre on May 23, 1992 resulted in the death of 5 people, including Judge Falcone and his wife, and the wounding of 25 others with injuries of varying severity. In the following period, large numbers of Italians gathered to attend Falcone’s funeral. And while the Italian parliament declared an official day of mourning, all Italian channels canceled their programs and instead moved to transmit the facts of Judge Falcone’s funeral.
Only about 57 days after the Capacci massacre, the Sicilian mafia assassinated Judge Paolo Borsellino, who represented Giovanni Falcone’s most prominent companion and assistant.