OPINION

Democracy on trial

The judges appointed to preside over the November 17 trial will not be trying the November 17 terrorist organization but its alleged members, who are implicated in specific criminal activities such as murders and robberies. It is an important distinction. The «ideology» of these individuals, their «vision» – as described by one of their lawyers – is a matter of irrelevance both for the judges and for us. We all have visions and ideologies – even Passaris – but these cannot secure us immunity from criminal proceedings or special treatment. There are many people – apart from the alleged members of N17 – who believe that our social and political regime is unfair and repressive and that it can only be subverted through the use of violence. The judges in the N17 trial face a difficult and arduous task. The trial must prove to be an example of democracy in practice as well as yield certain results. It must secure and guarantee the right of those on trial to defend themselves while also ensuring a thorough exposé of the alleged links between the suspects and crimes. And it must eventually reach a decision which apportions guilt fairly and not in the least vindictively. Whenever there is a murder or a robbery, the perpetrator must be found – this is true of everywhere, and all regimes.