Judges on trial

Last June when Court of First Instance President Evangelos Kaloussis was charged and faced dismissal, this column noted that the news of an investigation into 30 cases of corrupt judges was in fact old news. The truth is that revealing media reports have renewed interest in the cases and stepped up the legal procedures. In an interview with the Sunday edition of Kathimerini, Athens Bar Association President Dimitris Paxinos pointed at the heart of the issue, accusing the justice inspectorate of attempting to cover up corruption in the judicial body. Has any justice inspector ever been charged with turning a blind eye to scandalous court rulings by bribed judges driven by a twisted sense of professional solidarity? Have higher court judges ever been prosecuted for approving the promotion of corrupt colleagues, outstanding allegations or evidence of illicit activity notwithstanding? According to the indictment Kaloussis had broken «all moral boundaries» over the past seven years. He graduated from misdemeanor to crime showing immunity to institutional control. People take Kaloussis’s activity as a sign of a general mentality that has twisted independence – a sine qua non of justice – into authoritarianism or even license. Paxinos reinforced these concerns, adding that calls to protect the image of justice have halted efforts to clean up the sector. This makes the responsibility of the justice inspectorate even bigger. It is not the revelation but rather the masking of corruption that blackens justice’s image, something which should be rooted in respect, not fear. For this to happen, people must believe that judges are making decisions in an unbiased and fair manner. Judges are responsible for restoring public confidence in the institution they represent.

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