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David Nelken

The relationship in the course of 2002 between Silvio Berlusconi’s

government and the judges was one of continued and unrelenting

conflict. Few days passed wherein justice was not a central news item.

Accounts of battles between the government and the judiciary carried

titles such as “the duel,” and offered complex descriptions of the

moves and countermoves, in both Parliament and the courts, involving

the government, the opposition, judges, prosecutors, lawyers, and

the accused. Cases of political, administrative, and business corruption

still came to light from different parts of the country, such as

Turin, Milan, Potenza, Salerno, and Agrigento. But the heady days of

Tangentopoli were long over: it was now the judges who were themselves

under attack. For most of the year, Berlusconi and his associates

cast themselves in the role of victims by arguing that they were

being prosecuted and tried by politically and personally biased judges.

The judiciary was made the object of co-ordinated mass media campaigns

that set out in particular to discredit the Milan court and more

generally to show that when judges’ actions were effective, they were

often illegitimate, and that when they were legitimate, they were usually

not effective. Although some of the printed media still gave

unswerving support to the judges, there was little doubt that the initiative

had passed to the government and its parliamentary majority.

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David Nelken

Italo Pardo, Between morality and the law: Corruption, anthropology and comparative society. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004, pp. 187, ISBN 0-7546-4290-9.

Monique Nuijten and Gerhard Anders, eds., Corruption and the secret of law: A legal anthropological perspective, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2007, pp. 234, ISBN: 978-0-7546-7110-7.