Accused of trafficking in Kosovo, he was expelled and disbarred
“It was like being sentenced to death …”. In the bunker room of Rebibbia, when at half past one the judges of the eighth penal section acquitted him with a packed formula, Giffoni bursts into tears.
He rubs his eyes and apologizes, because for a lifetime his job has been to hide emotions and now he can’t: “I’m sorry, I’m in full emotional shock … But you have to understand: what they inflicted on me in these seven years and a half, for an ambassador is equivalent to the death penalty. Yes, I’m not saying it, says a law of 1953: the radiation of a diplomat is equated to shooting for high treason in wartime … And they shot me, without any right to do so. My life has been destroyed. A very hard test of physical, moral and material resistance. They expelled me from the diplomatic corps, I had two heart attacks, a stroke, a tumor, my marriage ended, only my 12-year-old son remained close to me and I had to go home to my mother, to survive with his retirement … And why? For things that I had not only never done, but never even thought of doing. It was all unfounded ».
Acquitted because the fact does not exist: he never dreamed of forming a criminal association. Acquitted because the fact does not constitute a crime: least of all, he never took it into his head to favor illegal immigration. In the monstrous gallery of the Italian Kafka, here is the case of the shooting without trial inflicted seven and a half years ago on the now former ambassador Michael Giffoni, 56, a New Yorker by birth and very Italian for the spirit of service, assignments from Bosnia to the task force of the “minister »European Javier Solana, who will be remembered in history because he was the first to open our embassy in Pristina, immediately after the independence of Kosovo.
And the first, indeed the only one, to be dishonorably hunted: “Without even starting the trial, the Foreign Ministry took away everything from me: rank, positions, salary. I twice resorted to the TAR, which twice reinstated me. But twice the Farnesina reaffirmed my dismissal: once signed by the then minister Federica Mogherini; the second, by the general secretary Elisabetta Belloni. I was accused of willful misconduct and gross negligence, without a shred of criminal sentence against me ».
The sentence has now arrived, “After 4 years of trial, of so many people who abandon you, of money that is not there, of a telephone that goes from one hundred calls a day to seven-eight a year”. And he ascertained that Ambassador Giffoni had nothing to do with that local collaborator – the son of Ibrahim Rugova, the “Gandhi of Kosovo” – who between 2008 and 2013 trafficked in visas and residence permits.
Who knew him in his 23 years as a diplomat in the field
, one who has been to Sarajevo under the grenades and has seen the horrors of Srebrenica, has never doubted Giffoni for a moment. But at the Farnesina they made a another film: «I don’t know if I have ever touched interests or susceptibility in Kosovo. I don’t even feel like blaming it. I think my case was more like madness. A ferocious and inhuman fury. Of those who knew my deep attachment to the country and to the values of the EU ».
And now? “It’s not over, I know. In a state of law my rehabilitation should be automatic: not in Italy. For me, being an ambassador was a mission and this is the worst: they removed me not only from my job, but from my life and my soul ».
September 28, 2021 (change September 28, 2021 | 08:15)
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