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Historical context: why Palermo?

The Organized Crime Convention, signed in Palermo, Italy in 2000, is also known as the Palermo Convention. This begs the question: why Palermo? This reference is intended to honour the memory of Judge Giovanni Falcone.

Born in Palermo, Judge Falcone "dedicated his life to the fight against organized crime" and "recognised the importance of greater international cooperation" in this endeavour (UNGA, 2017). Indeed, he was described by many as Italy's leading anti-Mafia campaigner. In April 1992, Judge Falcone was an active participant at the United Nation's first meeting of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. Tragically, Judge Falcone, along with his wife, Judge Francesca Morvillo, and three of their police escorts were murdered by members of the Sicilian Mafia one month later on 23 May 1992. The tragedy occurred "as their cars passed over a culvert where mafiosi had hidden 500 kilograms of explosives, packed into plastic drums and covered by a mattress" (Schneider and Schneider, 2003; p. 148).

Little over a decade later, the Palermo Convention entered into force, signifying a commitment by the international community to combat the very forces that Judge Falcone dedicated his life to fighting. To mark the 25 th anniversary of the assassination of Judge Falcone, the United Nations General Assembly held a high-level debate "to discuss ways to strengthen global implementation of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime" (UNGA, 2017). The continued work fighting organized crime embodies the very words of Judge Falcone: "People come and go but ideas remain. Their moral tensions remain. They continue to walk on the legs of others" (Schneider and Schneider, 2003; p. 209).