It has been more than six years since Pavlos Fyssas was murdered and the government of Antonis Samaras decided to open a criminal investigation into the criminal activities of Golden Dawn. The trial of dozens of defendants, including all of the party’s officials who were elected as MPs in 2012, began in April 2015 and is at long last coming to an end with the testimony of its leader Nikos Michaloliakos.
The court, led by the competent judge Maria Lepenioti, has done everything in its power to bring the trial to completion and bring justice to the victims’ relatives and the victims themselves who suffered at the hands of GD members and officials in criminal acts which also included the murder of Fyssas in September 2013.
The long-running trial is unprecedented in Europe as, for the first time, members and officials of a party that is considered a criminal organization are being tried. They are also standing trial on a case-by-case basis for a series of criminal acts. It represents a prime example of the inability of the country’s justice and political system to wrap up a criminal case within a short period of time, without excessive delays. There are many causes for this and there have been many omissions, but now is not the time to discuss this.
What is striking about this trial, which has dragged on for so long, is that all former Golden Dawn MPs, including Michaloliakos, have continued to stick to their guns.
They denied the charges, claiming they were being persecuted for political reasons, and tried to distance the party – regardless whether they were still members – from all the crimes that were committed. Moreover, not one sought to condemn the crimes included in the weighty indictment.
From Efstathios Boukouras, who left the party early, to Ioannis Lagos, who still has a political role as he is a member of the European Parliament, everyone followed the same course in their testimonies. Michaloliakos defended Golden Dawn and its ideology until the end, but denied the party’s crimes, as did all of GD’s leading officials, who frantically sought to shrug off the charge that it is a criminal organization. The court’s verdict is expected in the first months of next year. It will certainly be of critical importance if it recognizes and confirms that Golden Dawn, as the indictment says, is a Nazi-style criminal organization.
What is absolutely clear is that the leading officials of Golden Dawn, after all that has transpired all these years on a political, social and a personal level for them, have faithfully subscribed to the mantra to be loyal to their organization “until the end.” Provocative and remorseless.