Paolo Borsellino

Italian judge and anti-mafia prosecutor, assassinated in 1992

Paolo Borsellino was one of Italy’s most famous anti-mafia prosecutors.

He was one of the original members of the Palermo “anti-mafia pool” of magistrates set up to investigate and fight organised crime.

As the result of the pool’s action, the so-called Maxi Trial started in Palermo in 1986, and together with his friend and colleague Giovanni Falcone, he prosecuted hundreds of Cosa Nostra members in this historic anti-mafia trial. Most of the convictions were upheld by the Italian Court of Cassation in 1992.

The mafia responded with a series of murders and bombings that shook the country.

After Judge Giovanni Falcone was assassinated in May 1992, Borsellino reportedly told friends he knew he was living on borrowed time but he refused to abandon the fight against Cosa Nostra.

While investigating Giovanni Falcone’s murder, Borsellino and five of his bodyguards were killed by a massive car bomb outside his mother’s house in Via D’Amelio, a residential street in Palermo, on July 19, 1992.

His and Falcone’s murder sparked a big response by the ordinary people of Sicily. Young Sicilians went into the streets to protest and call for justice. The two assassinated judges became a symbol of the struggle against Cosa Nostra.

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