06.06.2007 On the 193rd anniversary of the Carabinieri

Speech of EUBAM Rafah Head of Mission, Lt. Gen. Pietro Pistolese to mark the 193rd anniversary of the CARABINIERI

Excellencies, distinguished guests, colleagues and friends,

Let me thank you very much for being here tonight with us to celebrate the 193rd Anniversary of the foundation of the Carabinieri Corps.
On the 13th of July 1814, in Torino, the King of Sardinia (Vittorio Emanuele the first) established the Carabinieri in order to enforce law and order throughout the Kingdom, to support the Judiciary, and to participate in military campaigns alongside the Army.

Since the very beginning, the Carabinieri have been performing both the functions of law enforcement and of national defence.

In this latter role, the Carabinieri participated in the four Italian independence wars, playing a key role thanks to their famous cavalry charges in Grenoble, Pastrengo, Monte Croce and Gorizia. They were also involved in all other conflicts, including the two World Wars.

On the 5th of June 1920, the Colours of the Carabinieri were conferred with the first Gold Medal for Military Valour, and since then we celebrate our Anniversary on this day.

Carabinieri have a long tradition of operations abroad. They have always been responsible for the security of all Italian Embassies and Consulates, and in many peace-support operations, starting more than one century ago in 1897 on the island of Crete.

Missions abroad included operations conducted in China, in 1900 during the Boxer uprising; in Macedonia, in 1904; in Chile, from 1909 to 1911 when the “Cuerpo de Carabineros de Chile” was established and in Jerusalem with General Allenby from 1917 to 1921.

More recently, Carabinieri took part in the UNIFIL Mission to Lebanon in 1979 where they were deployed again last year; with the ONUSAL Mission in S. Salvador, 1995; with UNTAC Mission in Cambodia, 1992; in Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo, Hebron, where they have been since 1994; Mozambique, Somalia, East Timor, Afghanistan, Iraq, and now in Rafah, Gaza Strip, in the EU Border Assistance Mission where, together with the police contingents from other 17 European Nations, they represent the commitment of the EU to the “Peace Process” and also represent the only implemented part of the Agreement on Movement and Access.

During these Missions, many Carabinieri lost their lives while performing their duty. To honour their memory I ask you to stand up one minute in silence.

Since their foundation, the Carabinieri have always engaged themselves in the service of the population. Today we are about 120,000 deployed all over Italy in more than 4000 Stations and many Specialized Units, such as “Food Adulteration Unit”, “Ecological Operating Unit”, “Nation’s Artistic Heritage Protection Unit”, “Air Service”, “Naval Service” et cetera, always ready to aid and support people in their daily lives and in the event of crises and disasters.
For this reason they are considered as an essential part of the State, fully dedicated to the respect of the Constitution and of the law.

In the last two centuries, these valuable features have made Carabinieri a constant and stable point of reference both for the people of Italy and the International Community.

We are proud to be Carabinieri and we are proud to be here tonight with you in this wonderful land !


Lt. Gen. Pietro Pistolese

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