Justice was sought after ever since the birth of societies. Our ancient ancestors deified it, and presented her as blind and unalloyed, bereft of influences and interventions.
Later, during the Enlightenment, much was written about how it should be meted out properly.
The French Revolution ushered in the separation of powers, precisely in order to guarantee its freedom, which unfortunately is still elusive.
World literature crafted emblematic works about justice, and Odysseas Elytis glorified it in a unique manner: “Sun of justice, perceived by the mind, and you glorifying Myrsini, Do not, please do not forget my country” the poet wrote, and later it was set to music by Mikis Theodorakis, and it was sung, along with singer Grigoris Bithikotsis, by the entire Greek people.
Despite all that, in contemporary Greek history, justice was abused countless times, and was used by leaderships and powers, as they saw fit.
The post-junta era was pregnant with hope, but again the powers that be during various eras could not endure its liberation. From the era of justice minister Vangelis Giannopoulos until today, there were plenty of interventions.
In our day, the national-populist government, employing some of the worst forms of abuse of the institution of Justice, is attempting in a unique manner to instrumentalise and manipulate it, in order to achieve the annihilation of its opponents, and to entrench its power.
Countless examples confirm all of the above. Certainly, the situation in the judiciary and the Greek people’s conception of it, express the problematic nature of the institution.
Right now, all Greek and foreign researchers view the judiciary and the meting out of justice as being a structural problem of exceptional importance for the course of the economy.
Its structure and composition, its dependency on successive governments, the limited tools it has at its disposal, and its delays, all confirm the intervention of all types of circles.
The Greek judicial system does not satisfy the common sense of justice. All types of interventions alloy the judgment of judges. Cases are handled at a snail’s pace, and there are no strong foundations for resolving differences. The result is that suspicion of the country is generalised, and those who want to invest in Greece are dissuaded.
There are constant interventions by judicial trade unions in the body of judges, which has often voted in accord with its own interests, seeking a role in conducting even fiscal and monetary policy.
Recent incidents, the pompous resignation of the president of the Council of State, and a plethora of other events bear witness to the fact that the judiciary is anything but blind and impartial.
No one can doubt that the country has a duty to restructure and overhaul the entire judiciary – ensuring its independence, facilitating its operation, and setting the parameters of its activity.
The first step in that direction would be to abolish the direct appointment of high court chief judges by the government.
The judiciary itself should settle on a list of potential candidates, based on specific criteria and qualifications, which would be submitted to parliament, judged and evaluated by the competent parliamentary committees, and then, based on the results, given to the President of the Republic decide.
Now is the time for radical decisions. As long as the current state of interventions and instrumentalisation of the judiciary continues, democracy will be the loser,