Top judge warns gov’t

Coun­cil of State pres­i­dent says at­tacks on ju­di­ciary un­jus­ti­fied and dan­ger­ous

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The clash be­tween the gov­ern­ment and the ju­di­ciary took another twist yes­ter­day as the head of the Coun­cil of State, Nikos Sakel­lar­iou, called for ver­bal at­tacks on ju­di­cial of­fi­cials to stop im­me­di­ately.

In an un­prece­dented pub­lic state­ment, Sakel­lar­iou said that the ju­di­ciary had been on the re­ceiv­ing end of “un­pro­voked” at­tacks and called for the ten­sion that has been build­ing be­tween the gov­ern­ment and judges, as well as pros­e­cu­tors, to be eased.

“I call on all in­volved par­ties to show the nec­es­sary self-re­straint be­fore the par­tic­u­larly se­ri­ous in­sti­tu­tional cri­sis that has been caused by these at­tacks be­comes un­con­trol­lable, which would have in­cal­cu­la­ble con­se­quences for so­cial peace and co­he­sion,” said Sakel­lar­iou.

The pres­i­dent of Greece’s high­est ad­min­is­tra­tive court said that he in­ten­tion­ally de­liv­ered his com­ments on the 43rd an­niver­sary of the restora­tion of democ­racy fol­low­ing the mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor­ship.

The coali­tion has over the last few months been en­gaged in a run­ning bat­tle with judges, re­sult­ing last week­end in the ex­change of an­gry state­ments be­tween the Union of Judges and Pros­e­cu­tors and the gov­ern­ment. The for­mer claimed that the sit­u­a­tion in Greece was be­gin­ning to re­sem­ble Poland and Turkey.

Sakel­lar­iou said that judges had re­ceived “un- jus­ti­fied” and “in­sult­ing” crit­i­cism. He also called on judges to be more re­served in their re­ac­tion to such at­tacks. “Jus­tice re­sponds to ex­treme be­hav­ior only by its ser­vants ex­e­cut­ing their du­ties to the fullest,” he said.

In his state­ment mark­ing the day the junta fell, New Democ­racy leader Kyr­i­akos Mit­so­takis claimed it is the first time since 1974 that Greece’s in­sti­tu­tions are be­ing threat­ened in this man­ner. “The sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers, which is the cor­ner­stone of the rule of law, is be­ing di­rectly breached by a gov­ern­ment that is try­ing to ma­nip­u­late and con­trol the jus­tice sys­tem. A gov­ern­ment that con­sid­ers the jus­tice sys­tem to be an in­sti­tu­tional ob­sta­cle to its plans,” he said.

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