A double role for justice

By Alexis Papachelas

A new, unforeseen factor entered the local political scene a little while ago: justice.

No one doubts anymore that prosecutors and judges will play a vital role in the months ahead. Anyone who fostered the illusion that justice can be controlled, something which might have been the case in the past, has now come to realize that this is no longer the case.

Justice could become a determinant factor in two key sectors. First of all, in investigations regarding scandals and cases of corruption. There has already been reaction from two opposing points of view regarding this: There are those who claim that considering everything that is being written and said, no one will be willing to approve or sign anything for a long time, effectively bringing the entire system to an end. On the other hand, there are those who believe that the justice system should get to the end of it all without worrying about any kind of side effects.

To be honest, I would not like to find myself in the position of anyone in charge of a case involving bank corruption, for instance. It’s one thing catching someone red-handed and quite another ruling whether someone rightfully authorized a loan or not.

It will take plenty of sound judgment and cool-headedness to reach a verdict that will demonstrate the judicial system is taking into account society’s demand for catharsis, while at the same time not becoming hostage to straightforward populism.

The second area where justice will have a crucial role to play will be regarding the unconstitutional character of certain measures and legislation passed as part of the memorandum.

Judging by certain decisions already reached, it seems that the balance is leaning toward laws being deemed unconstitutional, while there are plenty of indications that there will be more decisions of a similar nature in the near future.

Judges claim that figuring out ways to replace lost revenues for the state as a result of their decisions is not part of their job description.

Certain judicial officials even go as far as to say that getting rid of certain positions in the broader public sector would be much more constitutional that the kind of cuts that have crushed the sector’s core staff while eradicating any notion of hierarchy.

The fact is that in this case, justice could drive political and other developments.

In a certain way the role of justice is leading the country to a sort of “Italianization,” demonstrating that whenever a country’s political powers are weakened and discredited, other institutions quickly fill in the gap.