(Greece) – Two judges in the Greece’s Council of State, the nation’s highest court, have resigned after the president of the court decided to cancel sessions where the court was scheduled to go over appeals related to the government’s decision to cut the country’s public television licenses from seven to four was constitutional.
Nikos Sakellariou, the council’s president, abruptly ended the session after only an hour. In a statement, he said that, “In view of the climate that has been created in the last few days, and particularly because of several public statements and events regarding the outcome of the deliberations of the Council of State session for pending cases in regards to the broadcasting licenses, the Chairman of the Council of State ruled that the planned (from 09.13.2016) conference on these matters must be canceled.”
Sakellariou did say that there would be another session and when there is, he will announce it 24 hours in advance. However, the act of ending the initial session divided the judges. Many took Sakellariou’s side, and some didn’t. Vice Presidents Christos Rammos and Katerina Sakellaropoulou are amongst those who disagreed with Sakellariou. In their resignation letter, they criticized his decision to cancel the meeting and also criticized the colleagues who supported Sakellariou’s decision to cancel it. They looked at his decision as a “denial of justice.”
Meanwhile, several of the judges also released a statement in support of Sakelarriou’s decision to cancel the meeting due to the “bad climate” surrounding the situation. Two of the judges signed the letter, claiming that they represented the opinion of all the judges. However, Rammos and Sakellaropoulou have both said that the decision to cancel the session undermines the institution’s credibility, which means that they did not share the same opinion as the judges who signed the statement.