AVV. BALDASSARE LAURIA
Defence Counsel appearing before the Higher Courts
Via D. La Bruna 9Tel 0924 27522
ATTORNEY NORMAN SNITCHER
22 Barrack Street
CAPE TOWN 5001
RE: VITO ROBERTO PALAZZOLO
As a supplement to the memorandum that we have already sent through to you on the proceedings against Mr. VITO ROBERTO PALAZZOLO, we summarise hereunder the following aspects of the proceedings, which in our opinion illustrate the injustice of the conviction forming the subject of the extradition application, as well as the multiple violations of the procedural regulations on due process under article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
1) In truth, the conviction judgment handed down by the Appeal Court in Palermo on 11.07.2007, in the same way as the judgment of the Supreme Court of Appeal resolutely upheld PALAZZOLO’S affiliation to the Mafia organisation from 1980 onwards.
This element of fact, as we have stated, was neutralised by the Roman Court judgment issued on 28.03.1992, which had acquitted PALAZZOLO on the charge of association to commit a Mafia type crime (violation of the national prohibition on the bis in idem principle).
2) The alleged continued inclusion of PALAZZOLO in the Mafia organisation even after 1992, found its probatory basis for the Appeal Court of Palermo’s judgment in the statements made by the states witness GIUFFRE’.
With regard to the statements made by GIUFFRE’, it cannot be overlooked that the abovementioned himself stated that he did not know VITO ROBERTO PALAZZOLO, and that he had never met him.
3) The same GIUFFRE’ further stated that he had learnt of the news regarding PALAZZOLO from third parties (de relato), regarding business transactions that PALAZZOLO had allegedly concluded during the nineties (purchase of agricultural businesses in Latin America, international trading in meat with Argentina); while again according to GIUFFRE’, PALAZZOLO allegedly made a proposal to PROVENZANO around the year 2000 regarding the purchase of a shareholding in a Swiss insurance company.
4) None of these facts recounted by GIUFFRE’ found any corresponding probatory elements in the proceedings; on the contrary, it should be noted on this point that the Appeal Court denied PALAZZOLO the right to present evidence, in refusing the request made in his interests to admit the testimony of a certain ROBERTO BELLAVIA, the person with whom PALAZZOLO allegedly had gone into business with, as well asGARBO GIOACCHINO,regional representative for BAYERISCHE Insurance company, with regard to PALAZZOLO’S alleged interest in the business proposal referred to by GIUFFRE’.
This involves a blatant violation of the right to a defence, which constitutes the cornerstone of any judicial procedural system.
5) And again, the Supreme Court of Appeal painted PALAZZOLO as someone powerful that was capable of corrupting the Judicial Authorities and Police in the Republic of South Africa.
This supposition did not find any basis in any of the procedural records on the investigations and proceedings conducted in South Africa; on the contrary it was plainly rejected in the Order handed down by the Provincial Division of the Cape of Good Hope in the Supreme Court of South Africa, issued in Cape Town on 7.09.2001, in which the unfounded nature of the charges brought against PALAZZOLO were noted.
6) Finally, it must be said that the alleged hospitality provided by PALAZZOLO to two Italians, BONOMO and GELARDI, who at a time were free citizens, besides being formally disproved by the custom’s records, does not EX SE amount to a crime, or at the very least would amount to the crime of organised crime, as it finds definition in Italy (416 bis Criminal Code) and in the Criminal Code of the Republic of South Africa.
AdvocatesBaldassare LAURIA and Manuela CANALE