Independent justice

The call by Athens Bar Association President Dimitris Paxinos for the government and top judges to purge the judicial system of corruption echoes a popular demand. Cleaning up graft in Greek courts would clearly advance the interests of a country still mired in corruption despite the political changeover two years ago. Of course, the war on corruption is primarily the government’s business. It’s up to the conservative ministers to restore fair and transparent management. But justice has a key role to play as well, for under the constitution the judiciary is the guardian of the law. The numerous cases of corruption reported in recent years have resulted from blatant legal violations. Regrettably, the judicial system turned a blind eye as political figures joined hands with business figures in an entangled net. This newspaper has bitter experience of the indifference, if not hostility, with which certain judges, the purported guardians of the common good, reacted to allegations of scandalous contracts. We hope that the calls by the head of the bar association, coupled with pressure from public opinion, will energize the forces opposing corruption. I would personally recommend to the Supreme Court president that he designate a prosecutor specifically tasked with investigating corruption charges. Chief Athens court of first instance prosecutor Dimitris Papangelopoulos has no doubt done a great job in this regard, but broader mobilization is needed to cleanse the sector. This government, which is making an honest effort to manage state money, should realize that the widespread graft that is giving our country a bad name while slowing economic growth will only go away when corrupt judges disappear as well. The minister of justice must join hands with the Supreme Court in order to drill to the bone of corruption in the judicial system.

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