The judiciary’s handling of the Golden Dawn case will have a direct and decisive impact on Greece’s politics; only if the procedure is flawless will the neofascist group’s voters be swayed to seek other representatives. The investigation and trials will determine whether the governing coalition parties will gain or whether the country’s “anti-establishment” political groups will be reinforced further. Today’s developments, in other words, will affect elections in May for the European Parliament, for local government and, perhaps, for Greece’s Parliament.
Even though judicial developments may be crucial for our politics, however, it is far more important that our politicians keep away from the judicial process. If, at long last, they allow institutions to function without hindrance, without judging their functionaries at every step, they will show that they too can overcome their weaknesses, that they understand that political parties played a fundamental role in weakening institutions and that, this time, this will not happen. Commentators and news media, also, should understand that they cannot judge the judiciary every day according to their own desires.
The investigating judges’ decision to release on bail three of Golden Dawn’s members of Parliament, followed by the jailing of the group’s leader and his deputy, showed that our political system and news media still cannot withstand the temptation to get involved in something that they should simply be observing. For the accused, it is natural that they will criticize decisions that go against their interests and favor those with which they agree. For the rest of us, though, we should not declare our shock at some decisions while cheering others. Even if we were fully aware of the contents of each case, and we sat in on all meetings between judges and the accused, the only thing that we ought to do is foster a climate in which the judges and police can carry out their work in the best possible way. Isn’t that what we would want if we were in the accused’s position?
Our politicians, journalists, judges and police – and the defendants – should know that in the end we will all be judged, that we are only at the beginning of a long and complicated process. The crimes of which Golden Dawn members are accused are a unique opportunity for our state to acquire the seriousness and credibility that have been undermined by the endless improvisations of the past. The laxity and sloppiness of the political system and institutions allowed the country to drift into the economic and social crisis. Anyone who now undermines the process of checking Golden Dawn, anyone who contributes toward depriving the group’s members of a fair trial, will be responsible for continuing the criminal negligence which led to this sorry state. This weighs on most of us. For the judges, history will be the judge.