Top judge accuses gov’t of intervention

Top judge accuses gov’t of intervention

The head of Greece’s top constitutional court accused the government of intervention in justice, with the opposition calling for the resignation of minister Stavros Kontonis.

Nikos Sakellariou, the chair of the Council of State, responded to criticism by Kontonis against a recent CoS decision on the declaration of assets by justice officials, speaking of “a blunt intervention to the work of Justice by the Minister”, and adding that the issue remains open at the CoS.

“We do not accept directions from anyone. We are at a difficult junction. We are in the dark where the bailout agreements have put us in. There are limits to words. In my presence, minister, the intervention was in appropriate,” said Sakellariou: “I am sorry I am forced to adopt such a language, but we shall not back down on exercising out duties.”

Sakellariou and Kontonis spoke at the annual general meeting of the Greek Prosecutors Association, whose President, Dimitris Asprogerakas also criticized Kontonis about the minister’s statements related to the delay in the Appeals Court Judges Council decision on match fixing in soccer. Asprogerakas said “the minister cannot come here to scold us.”

New Democracy swiftly called for the departure of Kontonis from the ministry, saying that “it is unprecedented for the Justice leadership to publicly accuse the competent minister of blunt intervention in its work. In any state governed by law Kontonis would have been dismissed.”

Later Kontonis stated that the Sakellariou criticism was unjustified.