The charges pressed against a 23-year-old man who murdered a 19-year-old named Alkis (photo) are very heavy.

Police sources say that he had in the past played a leading role in a violent incident involving football fan clubs, in a tragic twist of fate very near the location where the 19-year-old was killed.

A case file was opened by the Thessaloniki Sub-Directorate for Athletic Violence, and the file was passed over to the judiciary, but the case has not yet been adjudicated.

Though history is not written with hypotheticals, one may justifiably wonder what would have happened if the case had been tried earlier. Could the ruthless murder of a young man have been avoided?

There are great delays in the meting out of justice in Greece. Shocking incidents like the one in Thessaloniki remind us in the harshest manner that such delays are impermissible for a state operating under the rule of law.

These delays in trying cases are well known and have been noted by the European Court of Human Rights.

Undoubtedly, the problem is multi-faceted. Yet, the recent murder is the last straw.

The time has come for everyone involved – the state, judges, lawyers, and judicial functionaries – to assume their share of responsibility and cooperate in order to resolve the problem.

This is not an internal matter of the judiciary. It concerns all of society.

Wherever justice is delayed, that makes citizens lose faith in the judiciary and harms many sectors of economic activity.