Call for overhaul of legal system

Media coverage of an ongoing trial-fixing probe is giving the impression that Greece’s entire judicial system is corrupt, prosecutors complained yesterday before calling for a raft of improvements in their sector, including the creation of a judicial police force. The national union of prosecutors issued a petition, condemning: «all those who use certain unacceptable – but limited – instances of corruption as an excuse to create the fraudulent impression of a general phenomenon in the field of justice.» Prior to issuing the petition, the union had been addressed by Justice Minister Anastassis Papaligouras who expressed solidarity with prosecutors and magistrates. «I am aware of how difficult the job of a prosecutor can be and that the role can sometimes be a thankless one,» he said. The minister also criticized «self-appointed prosecutors» on television and acknowledged that many viewers turn to them due to a «mistrust of institutionally recognized judicial functionaries.» The union’s petition also called for measures to improve the judicial sector. These include the creation of a judicial police force, based at major prosecutors’ offices; the establishment of a voluntary retirement scheme to allow the ranks of the judiciary to be refreshed regularly; a boost in prosecutors’ salaries; the establishment of special pay for those working on a 24-hour rotation basis; and an upgrade of the infrastructure in which courtrooms are located so prosecutors can work in «decent surroundings.»