Striking a delicate balance
Justice in Greece is trying to strike a difficult balance. On one hand, it has to take into consideration the universal demand to clamp down on lawbreaking and to ensure the severe punishment of those who are found guilty of corruption and other forms of wrongdoing. On the other hand, however, the judiciary must turn a deaf ear to the sirens of populism that are creating scandals and tarnishing reputations without any evidence to back their allegations. The stance of senior Greek judges in the Siemens case (the local branch of the German electronics giant was found guilty of paying bribes to Greek public officials and politicians to secure state contracts) as well as the SDOE financial crimes squad officials who have been accused of accepting bribes, shows that this long-elusive balance has been reached. Judges must have quick reflexes and make no concessions when evaluating evidence in order to win the average citizen’s trust in the rule of law.