May 23, 2018
ΔΙΚΤΥΟ ΥΠΟΣΤΗΡΙΞΗΣ ΥΠΕΡΑΣΠΙΣΤΩΝ ΑΝΘΡΩΠΙΝΩΝ ΔΙΚΑΙΩΜΑΤΩΝ
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS SUPPORT NETWORK
The Human Rights Defenders Support Network (DYYAD), a joint venture of the Hellenic Action for Human Rights “Pleiades” and Lawyers Without Borders, observed the press releases ( of 16 may 2018 and a subsequent one on the same day mounting the attack) of the Ministry of Justice and the Minister’s stance towards the body of Lawyers, as primarily expressed via an attack against the President of the Athens Bar Association, also under his identity as President of the Coordinating Committee of the Presidents of Greek Bar Associations.
On 15 May 2018 the Minister of Justice had visited the Prosecutor’s Office and the Athens 1st Instance Courts, calling them in a wide meeting on the situation of Corts and Justice, which included several stakeholders (President of the Directory Council of the Athens 1st Instance Courts, Head of the Prosecutors’ Office at the 1st Instance Court, Head of the B.D. of the Union of Judicial Functionaries, General Secretary of the MoJ, Head of Informatics and Technology of Austrian Technical Help, Technical Service of the Ministry of National Defense), completely excluding a Lawyers’ representative.
On the same day, in a MoJ’s press release about this meeting, the Minister of Justice announced the fragmentation of the Athens Courts of 1st Instance in 3 parts, the creation of new Courts in other areas and other issues regarding the Athens Lawyers’ working environment.
On the next day, 16 May 2018, the president of the country’s highest administrative Court, the Council of State, resigned, in an emotionally tense ambiance, often citing that economic interests should not outweigh institutions, decrying a situation of severe institutional breaches.
On the same day, the Athens Bar Association announced that an exceptional B.D. meeting of the Bar, open to Lawyers “because of the severity of the matter” would urgently (on 22 May) follow “about the Minister’sannouncement on the creation of two new 1st instance Courts in Attica region”.
The President of the Athens Bar, Mr.Vervesos, also made a statement about the resignation of the High Judge, which he characterized as unprecedented, and also on what is happening in the sphere of Justice, expressing the views of the lawyers’ body.