Forty senior justices set up new Union

The newly-formed Union of Supreme and Higher Court Judges and Prosecutors was formally established on Friday and issued its first announcement, in which it stressed that it was not formed with any intention to divide but in a spirit of cooperation and unity with other unions of justices.

It urged Greek justices to register to join its ranks, which it said will be open to judges and at all levels within the judiciary and not only the senior ranks.

The decision to found the new union has been strongly criticised by the existing Union of Judges and Prosecutors as a divisive move and a bid to create a rival association.

“We will not adopt the confrontational tactics of certain colleagues against our union, which are inexcusable and legally groundless, given that we are exercising are constitutionally established right to found a professional association – a judicial union,” the announcement said.

It said the new union will concern itself with issues affecting justice with “seriousness, responsibility and wisdom, without barren confrontation, as behooves the judicial capacity, to protect the prestige and independence of judicial functionaries and ensure the conditions for the unobstructed exercise of their jurisdictional duties and ensure a positive outcome in legal-statutory issues.”

The new union was founded because the presidency of the existing Union of Judges and Prosecutors did not include any senior judges, the announcement said.

The new judges’ union will have an 11-member board with a three-year term, while it’s emblem will be the scales and gavel. Earlier, it announced the names of its temporary governing board and 40 founding members. Among its founding rules is the provision that the board chairman will be a senior justice voted by an absolute majority of the members. Membership is, however, open to judges and prosecutors of all ranks, while retired justices and prosecutors can register as honorary members. Board membe ship is also open to all ranks at the level justice of the peace or above.

The union’s first elections will be held on two successive Sundays in March.