Swift illegality, slow justice

Swift illegality, slow justice

The swiftness of lawlessness and the slow movement of the state apparatus and justice can be quite astonishing. A prime example is the construction of large, unauthorized buildings that are provocative in nature. These monstrosities are erected during the winter and are nearly completed by summer. We’re not talking about discreet or underground structures here. These are mammoth buildings that can be seen from everywhere, including road and sea levels, in the case of islands. There is simply no excuse, and no one can claim ignorance.

And yet, the police, urban planning departments, municipalities and regional authorities either turn a blind eye or feign ignorance. A lot of money is obviously at stake. Otherwise, it’s collective blindness that’s very difficult to explain. 

For a while, these monstrosities remain disconnected from the power grid, standing like empty carcasses, waiting for legalization or a “magical” solution. Years go by, and they remain undemolished. When asked why, experts explain the complicated processes involved, which may take a long time until the demolition protocol is issued. While this may happen, it’s rare and often occurs after 20-25 years have passed.

Time has its way of making even the most unimaginable illegality a routine part of life. One may pass a monstrosity and think, “Now that they’re built, perhaps it’s better to give them electricity, fix them up, paint them, and improve the surrounding area instead of leaving them like an open wound in the landscape.” Although they may have built 2,000 square meters instead of the planned 200, we’re content that at least we do not have to put up with concrete structures or the country’s trademark starter bars, better known here as “anamones.”

The battle between illegality and legality is uneven, with a significant amount of undeclared money pitted against the low salaries of public employees. Illegality is agile, while the justice system is slow. Good lawyers armed with a strong legal arsenal serve illegality against a lethargic state suffocated within a tangle of laws, overlapping powers, ample room for appeals and objections, and so on. In other words, unless there is political will for change, illegality will win every round in its confrontation with legality. 

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.