The justices of the Council of State, Greece’s Court of Cassation, have issued a statement decrying the use of violence and its impact on institutions, after the 21 May attack on the ground floor of the court building by members of the anarchist organisation Rouvikonas and other kindred groups, even as the court was debating a law providing for pension cuts.

The judges, in a statement issued yesterday, underlined that the attack – with the throwing of black paint on the façade of the historic building, the breaking of windows, and the stirring of mayhem on the first floor of the building – is an attack on the constitutionally and democratically guaranteed institution of the judicial branch of government.

The judges warned about the broader repercussions of such violence.

“Citizens should consider that the vacuum that emerges when the institutions of democracy, including the judiciary, recede, is filled by raw violence, befitting primitive societies,” their statement said.

The attack occurred amidst the debate on the constitutionality of a labour ministry law on the insurance system, which provides for the cutting of pensions by 18 percent.

The judges did not focus solely on the specific law, but spoke about the more general impact of such violence, as the work of the court is of crucial importance for society and citizens who seek vindication by petitioning it.

“The meting out of justice presupposes clear-mindedness, calm, and civilised dialogue, with the exchange of arguments and respect for the opposing opinion,” the statement said.

“We judges never open a dialogue with individuals who use violence το bend our morale and influence our judgment. Actions such as the ones yesterday (21 May) only manage to shift to citizens – whose interests they supposedly serve – the cost of repairing the damages,” the judges said.

The statement called on the competent organs of the state to ensure the security of the building and to bring the culprits to justice.

Mina Moustaka