Rocco Chinnici

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Rocco Chinnici
Rocco Chinnici.jpg
Born(1925-01-19)19 January 1925
Died29 July 1983(1983-07-29) (aged 58)
Cause of deathAssassinated by the Sicilian Mafia
Known forInvestigations into the Sicilian Mafia

Rocco Chinnici (Italian pronunciation: [ˈrɔkko kinˈniːtʃi], Sicilian: [kɪnˈniːʃɪ]; 19 January 1925 – 29 July 1983) was a noted Italian anti-Mafia magistrate killed by the Sicilian Mafia.


Born at Misilmeri, Chinnici graduated in law at the University of Palermo in 1947 and started working as a magistrate in 1952 in Trapani. In 1966 he moved to the prosecutors office in Palermo. In November 1979, he became head of the Examining Office at the Palermo Court, following the murder of his predecessor, Cesare Terranova, by the Mafia.[1] At the time the prosecution was separated in an examining phase (the so-called instruction phase) and a prosecuting phase.

Chinnici created the Antimafia Pool, a group of investigating magistrates who closely worked together sharing information to diffuse responsibility and to prevent one person from becoming the sole institutional memory and solitary target. The famous Antimafia magistrates Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino were part of the Antimafia Pool as well as Giuseppe Di Lello [it] and Leonardo Guarnotta [it].[2] The Antimafia pool laid the groundwork for the Maxi Trial against the Sicilian Mafia in 1986.

He was instrumental in reviving investigations into the Mafia and understood the need to bridge the gap between the judiciary and the rest of Sicilian society to create a counterculture against the Mafia and break down omertà, the law of silence that kept the Mafia alive. He frequently spoke out against the Mafia in public appearances and schools at a time when judges had avoided the word for many years.[1]


On 29 July 1983 a car bomb explosion in Palermo killed Chinnici, two of his bodyguards, Mario Trapassi and Salvatore Bartolotta, and the concierge of his apartment block, Filippo Li Sacchi, as he left the house to go to work.[1] The bomb was triggered by the notorious Mafia assassin Pino Greco, on the orders of his uncle Michele Greco. In 2002, Bernardo Provenzano, Salvatore Riina, Raffaele Ganci, Antonino Madonia, Salvatore Buscemi, Nenè Geraci, Giuseppe Calò, Francesco Madonia, Salvatore and Giuseppe Montalto, Stefano Ganci and Vincenzo Galatolo were sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment for ordering the murder of Chinnici.[3][4] He was succeeded as Chief Prosecutor by Antonino Caponnetto.


  • Zingales, Leone (2006). Rocco Chinnici, l'inventore del pool antimafia (in Italian). Edizioni Limina.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Stille, Excellent Cadavers, p. 81
  2. ^ Giovanni Falcone, Paolo Borsellino and the Procura of Palermo Archived 2012-10-21 at the Wayback Machine, Peter Schneider & Jane Schneider, May 2002, essay is based on excerpts from Chapter Six of Jane Schneider and Peter Schneider, Reversible Destiny: Mafia, Antimafia, and the Struggle for Palermo, Berkeley: University of California Press
  3. ^ "Strage Chinnici, 12 ergastoli assolti i boss Motisi e Farinella" (in Italian). la Repubblica. 26 June 2002.
  4. ^ Italy: Mafia 'Pope' dies in Rome clinic, Adnkronos International, February 13, 2008

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