so I thought.
The passenger car was almost engorged, so when I spotted a seat not far from the door, Islithered into it and scanned the faces of my neighbours all of whom, except for one, were setback and resigned to the upcoming, and for them boring, trip north. I did not want to intrudeupon the concentration of the middle-aged woman sitting directly in front of me, but I knew Iwould eventually do so because on the mini table that separated us there was a stack of lightblue folders printed on them with this:
Corte di Appello.
First, I had to drink my Coke and eatmy sandwich. I couldn't wait to find an excuse to ask her if she were a lawyer!Silvana Arbia (19 November 1952) sat absorbed in some of the documents which werescattered about on the tiny table and set uneasily on her lap. She immediately impressed mewith her daintiness and serious-mindedness. The more I observed her the more I thought she just might be a professor—she had that look of books about her. No make-up. Veryconservatively dressed and fixed, gently, with a purpose. I bet in my mind that she would besoft-spoken once I might start talking to her. If I did, I hoped she wouldn't tell me she had toomuch work to do and could not converse with me. The more I sighted her, the more mywonder boomed.Had I known at the time that she had a master's degree in law (1976), was trained at theAcademy of European Law and The Hague Academy of International Law and had hadadditional training at the René Cassin International Institute of Human Rights (1989) and theCanadian Human Rights Foundation (1995), I might have kept quiet refusing to disturb her inher activity. Further, had I realized she was a fervent advocate of human rights and was abattler on behalf of legislation posited to combat human trafficking and sexual exploitation of children and other victims of crimes in the European Union, I'm sure I would have reined in myenthusiasm. Silvana, in later years, would serve as a senior trial attorney and acting chief of prosecutions at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. And in 1998, she participatedin the drafting of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Since 28 February2008 she has served as the registrar of the International Criminal Court. Without knowing asingle thing about her and her life, without hearing yet a word from her, I just recognized, in1994, that I was sitting in front of a very distinguished individual and one to whom I couldtender, without equivocation, my respect.It is awe-inspiring what a smile can do! Perhaps it is better to say “the right kind of smile.”Fortuitously, mine worked. She put down the folder she held in her hand thus “body-languaging” that she would like to hear something from me.“Excuse me, but are you a lawyer?” (I started off in Italian.)“No. I'm a judge.”
is an anti-
judge,” she riposted but this time in English.
“Wow! An anti-
judge. Are we going to get shot at on our way to Firenze? Should Ichange my seat?”She blushed and burst out laughing, asked me where I was from, and then we exchangedpersonal data. After, I told her I did not believe in the
“Some time ago, I asked a Sicilian architect if the
existed. He told me the
doesnot exist but
do! Your honour, wouldn't it be better to call it organized crime as manyanti-defamation proponents suggest?”
“Why not? Crime is crime and my work is trying to eliminate it.
organized crime are just labels for a judge.”Silvana proceeded to talk vaguely and diplomatically about the state of the Italian judicialsystem, and I added—to be ennobling—that in the DisUnited States crime frequently plays anenormous role in keeping the DUS from progressing salubriously—that the cost of fighting law-breaking and restraining law-breakers was debilitating. I did not want to enter into a
tutto ilmondo è paese
give-and-take with her because Italians are forever at the ready to justify theirshortcomings vis-à-vis the defects of others. (Schopenhauer: “The principal nationalcharacter trait of the Italians is a perfect impertinence. This consists in both not feeling toounfit for any task from where stems their self-importance and sass; and, in not feeling too loftyfor anything from where originates their meanness.”) The state of the judicial structure in Italy