by Franco Ippolito
This contribution, authored by Franco Ippolito, past President of the PPT (2014-2017), provides a reflection on the specific and present significance of the professional and political role of the second President of our Tribunal, Salvatore Senese (2004-2014).
Senese played a major role in the Italian institutional scenario by promoting the increasing importance of an independent judiciary in a world which has structurally set upside down the hierarchy of law-justice vs political powers and economy. His intense experience in highly repressive as well as orphan areas such as workers rights, gave him the possibility of a close understanding of social conflicts, as well as the perception of law and justice’s permanent risk of becoming guarantor of the powerful rather than of the marginalised. Its role as magistrate in the worst years of Italian terrorism in the 70’s gave him the opportunity for being a guide, thanks to his high responsibility role in the‘democratic’ factions of the magistrates, guaranteeing their full independence, and to the production of an amazingly lucid and never purely theoretical doctrinal body of publications which retain their full relevance and didactic clarity.
His participation as a rapporteur in the Russell Tribunal on Latin American Dictatorships (1974-1976), in the formulation of the Universal Declaration of People’s Rights (Algiers 1976) and in PPT life, up to his presidency (2004-2014), made it possible to translate each time factual scenarios of violations examined into responses to the existing gaps in international law.
The article (available only in Italian in one of the leading official publications of jurists association “Questione Giustizia”) reconstructs and analyses rigorously the life, legal and political profile of Salvatore Senese so that his example may serve as an inspiring appeal to the young generations of judges, while being a reminder of a path which is reflected and accessible through the PPT Sessions. The deep roots of Senese in his life-long commitment in the most critical events of the Italian and international scenario, with a unique coherence between doctrinal rigour and proximity to the unmet needs of justice remain one of most inspiring treasures for the methodological, ethical, political independence and credibility of the PPT.