Every judicial organ of a state whether permanent or ad hoc plays a dual role.

On the one hand it must probe to find the truth and on the other it must ensure the legal and constitutional order. The one is a precondition for the other.

One is obliged to find the truth solely through legal means in a manner that protects the authority and prestige of state institutions.

The open letter of former deputy premier and Pasok minister Evangelos Venizelos which was published in Ta Nea and was addressed to both the prosecutor of the Supreme Court (Areios Pagos) and the parliamentary committee examining possible judicial tampering by ex-alternate justice minister Dimitris Papangelopoulos stresses the importance of their mission.

The letter should be carefully considered by those to whom it is addressed.

It merits close review not only because Venizelos is a distinguished constitutional scholar with a long track record in politics, but because what was billed as the greatest scandal since the establishment of the Greek state [the Novartis affair] turned out to be a scandal for democracy.

Democracy therefore has a duty to defend itself.

It must defend itself against those who attempted to exploit its institutions to serve their own ends in a manner that violates the constitution.

Democracy must emerge unscathed from this adventure – which appears to have led state officials to adopt methods that are reminiscent of regimes that do not abide by the rule of law.

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