The facts. Silvio Berlusconi is facing a trial for bribery of a lawyer, the Englishman Mills, who took 600,000 euros to produce a false testimony in favour of the Italian premier. Mills was convicted of the crime, but Berlusconi was not tried, because of a law machined just in time, to suit him: the "Lodo Alfano", named after the Minister of Justice, which gave immunity to the four highest charges of the Italian political system (the President of the Republic, the Presidents of the two chambers, and the Premier). With the Lodo Alfano, Berlusconi got shielded from two other misdemeanor accusations.
It so happens that the Lodo Alfano was canceled a month ago by a court which decided that the law is illegal -as Berlusconi's opposers had repeatedly claimed-, since it goes against the Italian Constitution. Now, with the Lodo Alfano off the board, Berlusconi is almost certain of being convicted if he is tried -Mills was bribed to falsely testify in his favour, and this is an established fact. The first session is already being scheduled, and he claimed that his institutional duties prevent him from attending in the near future. In the meantime he asked his lawyers to put together a law to cancel his trial for good.
The law was justified by the government with the excuse that the judiciary system needs to be simplified, and to make trials shorter. They did their best to make it look like urgent business for our Country, in a moment when unemployment is at a record high, and the foreign debt has reached an appalling 115% of the gross national product. The project of law establishes that after two years, if the trial has not ended, your crime goes untried and you get away with it. And it is retroactive! Now, with the law in place, Berlusconi would get rid of all the accusations once and for all. But unfortunately, as always happens with laws made ad personam, this wreaks havoc in the whole system. Because if the law passes, hundreds of ongoing trials will be canceled.
I am with Pierferdinando Casini this time. Casini is the leader of UDC, a catholic party inspired by the "Christian Democracy" which governed Italy for 40 years after WWII. He is not a person of which I have high esteem. But he said it best: let us make the Lodo Alfano a constitutional law, give Berlusconi what he wants, and forget the issue. Because here there is more at stake than the reputation of our shameful prime minister: the whole system will collapse. Judges will be forced to deal with the urgent administration, and corrupt politicians, criminal organizations, massive frauds will acquire total immunity.
The fight that the Berlusconi government has moved to magistrates in Italy since Berlusconi got to power is a shameful thing by itself -he calls honest judges who do their duty in silence for a modest income "dangerous communists" because they investigate on notitiae criminis related to him- but this law is horrible. Italy is not renowned for a well-working judiciary system, but Italy is about to become a banana republic -if it is not already one.