OPINION

Sticking to the rules

The care shown by the president of the three-judge criminal appeals court that the hearing of November 17 suspects should be carried out in a spirit of moderation and an atmosphere of calm – along with his reiterated introductory statement that he has had no contact with anyone linked to the case outside the courtroom – is a positive introduction to the trial. The same applies to his insistence that the need for a fair trial should take precedence over procedural details. In contrast to some people, who are evidently pretending to believe that a fair trial is impossible, the prudent appeals court president is conscious of the pressures under which this trial is being conducted. The fact that the US ambassador to Greece insists on intervening with unequivocal statements regarding the alleged activities of defendants (and others) helps to explain why between 26 and 30 percent of citizens questioned in recent polls said they did not believe the trial would be fair. A similarly high proportion of the public believe that the media’s revelations about N17 are basically police leaks. In view of this, Mr Margaritis is right to want to ensure that the court has an open and «empty» mind. Over the course of the trial, we will have the chance to discuss details. But now, at the beginning, we must not forget a fundamental issue. The court is obliged to judge according to our Constitution and criminal laws, even if the enforcement of such laws leads it to decisions displeasing to Ambassador Thomas Miller or Justice Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis.