On 7 March 2023, six members of the Board of Directors of the Athens Bar Association issued a statement saying that the letter of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to the Prosecutor of the Supreme Court Isidoros Doyakos regarding the judicial investigation of the railway accident in Tempe is a “direct violation” of the constitutionally enshrined principle of separation of powers.
According to that article, the legislative function is exercised by Parliament and the President of the Republic (paragraph 1), the executive function by the President of the Republic and the Government (paragraph 2) and the judicial function by the courts (paragraph 3).
Explaining their reasoning, the members of the association say that in his letter to the Supreme Prosecutor, the Prime Minister, firstly, indicates the need for immediate clarification and prioritisation of “all criminal cases related to the tragic train accident in Tempe”, secondly, he calls for the cases to be assigned ‘to the highest possible investigative level’ and, thirdly, he states that the findings of the committee of experts will, once completed, be communicated to the prosecuting authorities ‘to become part of the case file’.
The letter considers that this “constitutes a direct violation of the principle of separation of powers and indirectly undermines the authority of the justice system,” as: a) the Prime Minister’s reference to a number of criminal cases, reasonably creates the impression that it is an indirect proposal to the Prosecutor of the Supreme Court to order the separation of the case of the railway accident into several individual cases; b) the request to assign the cases to the highest investigative level constitutes an indirect request for the appointment of a special appellate investigator by the Prosecutor of the Supreme Court, (c) the suggestion that the findings of the expert committee should form part of the criminal file constitutes an advance interference with the work and speed of the pending main investigation.
Under the rule of law, the state authorities and the government must respect the separation of powers between the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, a separation that, as a fundamental concept of modern democracy, is enshrined in Article 26 of the Constitution. However, in the opinion of the above six members of the Board of Directors of the Association of Judges and Prosecutors, the letter of the Prime Minister to the Prosecutor of the Supreme Court regarding the judicial investigation of the railway accident in Tempe is a ‘direct violation’ of this constitutionally guaranteed principle.
Bank Account number: 1100 0232 0016 560
IBAN: GR56 0140 1100 1100 0232 0016 560
In a time where the very foundations of democracy are gradually being eroded by the rise of extreme nationalism, alt-right movements, the spread of disinformation and corporate capture, the efforts of organisations such as Vouliwatch are more relevant than ever.
We rely on the generosity of each and every one of you to continue with our efforts for more transparency and accounta
By financially supporting Vouliwatch you support our litigation strategy, our campaigns for transparency and accountability in the political system, the development of new civic tech tools, our research projects and last but not least our impartial and accurate