Comparative law and justice/Greece

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Basic Information[edit | edit source]

"Geography Area: 131,957 sq. km. (51,146 sq. mi.; roughly the size of Alabama). Major cities: Capital--Athens. Greater Athens (pop. 3,566,060), municipality of Athens (772,072), Thessaloniki (749,048), Piraeus (182,671), Greater Piraeus (880,529), Patras (170,452), Larissa (113,090), Iraklion (132,117). Terrain: Mountainous interior with coastal plains; 1,400-plus islands. Climate: Mediterranean; mild, wet winter and hot, dry summer. People Population (March 2001 est.): 10,939,771 million. Growth rate: 0.21%. Languages: Greek 99% (official); English. Religions: Greek Orthodox 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other .7%. Education: Years compulsory--9. Literacy--95%. All levels are free. Health: Infant mortality rate--6/1,000. Life expectancy--male 76 years, female 81 years. Work force: 4.32 million." [1]

"MONETARY UNIT : "The euro replaced the drachma as official currency in 2002. The euro is divided into 100 cents. There are coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents and 1 euro and 2 euros. There are notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 euros. As of May 2003, €1 = $1.0977 (or $1 = €0.911)". The metric system is the legal system." [2]

"Approximately 98% of the population is Greek. Minority groups consist of Turks, Slavs, Albanians, Armenians, Bulgarians, Jews, and Vlachs. Under League of Nations supervision in 1923, more than 1 million Greek residents of Asia Minor were repatriated, and some 800,000 Turks left Greece. During the German occupation (1941–44) and the civil war (1944–49), there was a general movement of people from the islands, the Peloponnesus, and the northern border regions into the urban areas, especially the Athens metropolitan area, including Piraiévs. Between 1955 and 1971 about 1,500,000 peasants left their farms—about 600,000 going to the cities, the rest abroad. According to the 1981 census, 813,490 Greeks had migrated since 1975 to urban areas, and 165,770 had moved to rural areas. The growth rate of the Athens, Thessaloniki, Pátrai, Iráklion, and Vólos metropolitan areas during 1971–81 far exceeded the population growth rate for the nation as a whole. Modern Greek is the most popular language spoken in Greece. Approximately 99% of the population speaks Greek. English and French are spoken often in Greece, but are not taught in the school systems."[3]

"The conservative government that came to power in 1990 adopted a 1991–93 "adjustment program" that called for reduction of price and wage increases and a reduction in the public-sector deficit from 13% to 3% of GDP. Twenty-eight industrial companies were to be privatized. In 2000, agriculture (with forestry and fishing) generated about 9% of the GDP but employed about 20% of the labor force. Agricultural exports include tobacco, cotton, wheat, raisins, currants, fresh fruits, tomato products, olive oil, and olives. In 2000, industry and construction accounted for about 22% of the GDP and 21% of the labor force. Wholesale and retail trade and other services provided some 70% of the GDP. Next to food processing, textile manufacturing used to be the most important industry, but chemicals and metals and machinery have outstripped it in recent years." [4]

"At present, 100% of the population has access to safe water. In 1999, Greece immunized children up to one year of age against diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 88%, and measles, 88%. In 2000, the infant mortality rate was 5 per 1,000 live births. The total fertility rate in 1980 (2.2) has dropped to 1.3 as of 2000. The sharp birth rate decline since World War II has been attributed to the legalization of abortion. In 2000, life expectancy averaged 78 years. As of 2002, the overall mortality rate was estimated at 9.8 per 1,000 people. The birthrate was an estimated 9.8 per 1,000 people. A large percentage of Greek men (54%) and women (13%) smoked between 1986 and 1994. As of 1999, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS was estimated at 8,000 and deaths from AIDS that year were estimated at fewer than 100. HIV prevalence was 0.2 per 100 adults." [5]

"For the year 2000, adult illiteracy was estimated at 2.8% (males,1.4%; females, 4.0%). Education is free and compulsory for nine years beginning at age six, and primary education lasts for six years. Secondary education is comprised of two steps: first three years, followed by an additional three years of college preparation. The central and local governments pay the cost of state schools, and private schools are state-regulated." [6]

"Greek History - The Dark Age of Greece - 1100-600 B.C., The collapse of the Mycenaean civilisation at the end of the Bronze Age disrupted life in the Aegean and resulted in the depopulation of the area. It is unclear what caused this but the result was that the Aegean became relatively isolated. The beginning of this period is sometimes known as the Dark Age as it saw the loss of many arts and crafts, including the art of writing. Recovery was patchy, and some areas flourished again as early as the 11th century BC. From around 800 BC recovery became more widespread. Trade picked up, wealth increased and technical and artistic skills were revived. Pottery was increasingly decorated with human figures and scenes from myths. Around this time writing was reintroduced using an alphabet adapted from that of the Phoenicians. The Greeks developed the political structure known as the city-state and began to establish colonies to both the east and west. The period from about 700 BC, known as the Orientalising Period, was a time when the Aegean re-entered the wider world of the eastern Mediterranean. Exotic Near Eastern animals, monsters and other motifs were increasingly used in Greek art. One example is the ‘Mistress of the Animals’ plaque from Rhodes." [7]

Governance[edit | edit source]

The government of Greece is a parliamentary democracy. The power is basically put into the hands of the parliament. The administration is run by 151 political party members in the parliament. There is a president and a Prime minister in this form of government. The Prime Minister is basically the leader of the parliament. The Minister then goes on to appoint cabinet members, similar to what the President does in our country. The Parliament deputies elect the president rather than the public, and he/ or she serves for 5 year terms. [8]

Greece has a constitution similar to that of the United States, and it gives rights and obligations to the citizens of Greece. [9]

The Criminal law system is very simlar to that of the United States. You are allowed the right to a jury. There is a judicial branch and a supreme court. The judges are choosen by the president. You are allowed hearrings when requested.

Elections[edit | edit source]

Greek elections only require voters to be Greek citizens that are 18 yeard of age or older. There are 300 active members in the legislative branch, whom are elected by the public to serve four terms for their country. Judges have to be choosen by the president, and then accepted by a judicial council to receive their jobs. Once made into a judge, they are able to serve as a judge for the rest of their lives. You have to be a Greek citizen to vote, but it is not manditory to vote. [10]

Judicial Review[edit | edit source]

Greece does have a role for judicial review. "The accused will meet with the Chair and Advisor to review their rights, review the charges and outline the judicial process. The organization is notified of the date, time and location for the hearing." [11]

Courts and Criminal Law[edit | edit source]

The Greek courts are divided into an aministrative branch, a criminal branch and a civil branch, each dealing with different types of crimes. The Judicial Law enforcement consists of judges, clerks, and prosecutors. The district court judges are in charge of all private and criminal law cases. Juries do not participate in non-serious crimes such as civil crimes, and they only have a small amount of power in contributing to the outcome in serious criminal and federal crimes.You are innocent until proven guilty. The judges are choosen by judicial lawyers, who have at least two years of experience under their belts. [12]

The Supreme court in Greece is located in Athens. In these cases fifty six judges listen to both sides of the case, and it takes twenty eight votes in one favor for a decision to be made. This court deals with questions of law as opposed to questions of fact. [13]

After graduating from law school, graduates must work as apprentices in law firms for a year and a half before they are allowed to take a bar exam and fufill their carrers. As an apprentice, they are not allowed to participate in current law cases. Once this is completed, they take a series of written and oral exams, testing their knowledge of Criminal law, Commercial law, and the all around basis of the legal system. Once they pass the exam they can participate in local District Court cases. After four years of experience they can hen particpate in cases in the local Court of Appeals, and eventually with more experience appear in the Supreme Court [14]

Punishment[edit | edit source]

"In Greece, possession of weapons is strictly prohibited, and unless one obtains a licence such as for hunting purposes, owning firearms is forbidden. Possessing, importing, and selling weapons carries severe penalty in Greece, including life imprisonment. In the past, people who committed gun crimes because of insult to their families were not punished. This old idea drew many critics from the Greek citizens, and the Greek government has since been less lenient to those who commit this type of crime." [15]

"The Criminal Code punishes those who encourage prostitution of minors with imprisonment for up to ten years and a fine of €10,000 to €50,000. The punishment is more severe if the crime involves a minor under the age of fifteen or is committed by parents or step-parents, relatives, guardians, custodians, or teachers." [16]

"The importance of the rule of law in the organization of the state is generally evident. Articles 4 to 25 of the Greek Constitution provide for the protection of human rights including the free development of one’s personality (Art. 5) and recognize the value of human dignity (Art. 2). Every act of the state must be in conformity with the law and it must also be provided for by a law. The Constitution divides state authority into the three functions of executive, legislative, and judicial (Art. 26). It grants the Judiciary independence from the other functions and the power to control and even annul acts of the public administration and to examine the constitutionality of acts of Parliament and refuse to apply statutes if they are found to be unconstitutional. The Constitution also grants to all citizens the right to seek judicial protection whenever their rights are infringed (Art. 20). [17]

"One who by physical force or threat of serious and immediate danger forces another into extra-marital intercourse or attempts an indecent act, is punished with confinement.If the act of rape is committed by two or more perpetrators who were acting jointly, the persons are punished with confinement of at least 10 years.If the act of rape causes the death of the victim, confinement of at least ten years or life-imprisonment is imposed." [18]

"Greece consists of one large mainland and more than 1,400 islands, including Crete and Rhodes, with a combined population of about 5.5 million people. Greece also is home to between 500,000 and one million illegal aliens. Most of the illegal immigrants are economic refugees who began arriving from Albania, Egypt, Palestine, Poland, Russia and Ukraine after 1990. Prior to that time, 99 percent of the country's residents spoke Greek as their first language and 98 percent were of the Greek Orthodox Adj. 1. Greek Orthodox - of or relating to or characteristic of the Eastern Orthodox Church Eastern Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, OrthodoxPolice officers and other law enforcement officers are authorized by federal, state, and local lawmakers to arrest and confine persons suspected of crimes. The judicial system is authorized to confine persons convicted of crimes.Rates in Europe (35 people incarcerated per 100,000). However, the influx of illegal immigrants and the diversification of the formerly homogeneous society has led to a current incarceration rate of nearly 72 per 100,000." [19]

The death penalty was abolished in Greece in 1993 for all ordinary crimes. Later, in 2004, the death penalty was abolished in Greece for all crimes. [20]

"The new law results from the work of the Greek Network for the Prevention and Combating of Corporal Punishment of Children, a committee of government and non-government bodies established in October 2005 specifically to draft legislation which would prohibit all corporal punishment." [21]

"The Greek juvenile justice system has been traditionally characterized by the principle of education, protection, support and integration of the minor. Particularly, the new law (Act 3189/2003 ‘Reform of Criminal Legislation on Minors and Other Provisions’, in force since 21 October 2003) aims at strengthening not only the principle of education but also the rule of law (‘due process of law’) and care for crime victims in the way that the juveniles’ (re)integration into society can be achieved. The modernization of the juvenile justice system came through the adoption of a large variety of non-custodial educational measures which consider the deprivation of liberty as a measure of last resort, the development of non-custodial therapeutic measures, the consideration of the victim’s interests, the abolition of indeterminate sentences." [22]

"The United Nations' top anti-torture envoy says conditions in Greek prison and police station detention facilities are often "appalling," with severe overcrowding and limited access to health care.Manfred Nowak described Greek detention facilities as being "in a situation of crisis," with some holding three times more people than they have capacity for." [23]

Law Enforcement[edit | edit source]

The police academy in Greece consists of An Officers` School, which is a university-level institution, A Police Constable School, a national security school, and a school for continuting education. The director of the police academy, is a senior-level officer and is responsible for supervising and coordinating these separate faculties.Instructors are comprised of distinguished university professors, experts and experienced officers from the Force. The curriculum includes university-level courses, specialized vocational courses and field training. [24]

"The Hellenic (Greek) Police assumed its present structure in 1984 when the Gendarmerie (Chorofylaki) and the Urban Police Forces (Astynomia Poleon) were merged (Law 1481/1-10-1984, Government Gazette 152 A). Hellenic Police (Elliniki Astynomia) is a Law Enforcement Agency according to the Law nr. 2800/2000 and its mission is to: Ensure peace and order as well as citizens` unhindered social development, a mission that includes general policing duties and traffic safety, and prevent and interdict crime as well as to protect the State and the democratic form of government within the framework of constitutional order, a mission that also includes the implementation of public and state security policy" [25]

"Drug prevention in Greece is mostly implemented by the nationwide network of 71 Prevention Centres established by ΟΚΑΝΑ, local authorities, by the Ministry of Education, as well as by other governmental and non-governmental drug-specialised or health services, etc., which among other tasks are active in the field of prevention." [26]

Greece is number 46 on the list for most police corruption in the world. [27]

"The purpose of CEPOL's Common Curricula is to provide recommendations about police training on specific subjects with a European dimension. Member States can then use the recommendations within their national police training programmes according to their individual needs. The Common Curricula also provides the basic ideas and elements for CEPOL's courses and seminars. The subjects of the Common Curricula are determined by the Governing Board and are in line with the priorities outlined at a European level Terrorism is a global problem that shows no respect for international boundaries. It is appropriate when dealing with this threat that law enforcement activities are not constrained by international or jurisdictional boundaries. To achieve this, senior police officers should have a common understanding of contemporary techniques available and the inter-personal skills for them to be better able to plan for, prevent and react to terrorist threats in whatever forms it may arise.The Common Curriculum on Police Cooperation and Europol (CC05/C) aims to support the CEPOL partners to establish and develop national and international training about Europol and its role in the international law enforcement cooperation. Training is on a high professional level." [28]

"19-45 years of age for compulsory military service; during wartime the law allows for recruitment beginning January of the year of inductee's 18th birthday, thus including 17 year olds; 17 years of age for volunteers; conscript service obligation - 1 year for all services; women are eligible for voluntary military service." [29]

Military branches include Hellenic Army (Ellinikos Stratos, ES), Hellenic Navy (Ellinikos Polemiko Navtiko, EPN), Hellenic Air Force (Elliniki Polimiki Aeroporia, EPA) . [30]

Crime Rates and Public Opinion[edit | edit source]

[31] "Assaults 3,322 [42nd of 49] Burglaries 15,899 [30th of 38] Car thefts 8,486 [29th of 46] Corruption > % of managers surveyed ranking this as a major business constraint 9.8 % [29th of 39] Drug offences 33.3 per 100,000 people [25th of 46] Frauds 391 [55th of 48] Illicit drugs a gateway to Europe for traffickers smuggling cannabis and heroin from the Middle East and Southwest Asia to the West and precursor chemicals to the East; some South American cocaine transits or is consumed in Greece; money laundering related to drug trafficking and organized crime Manslaughters 19 [36th of 42] Murders 81 [49th of 49] Murders committed by youths 25 [54th of 73] Murders committed by youths per capita 0.9 [53rd of 57] Prisoners 8,841 prisoners [67th of 168] Prisoners > Female 4.9% [48th of 134] Prisoners > Foreign prisoners 42.4% [9th of 86] Prisoners > Per capita 83 per 100,000 people [103rd of 164] Rapes 114 [49th of 50] Robberies 833 [52nd of 47] Software piracy rate 58% [60th of 107] Total crimes 102,783 [36th of 50] Unpaid diplomatic parking fines 0"

The types of problems that can occur with statistics like these is that not all crimes that are committed are reported. Not even close.

"The 1950s in Greece were marked by a rash of «honour crimes» and by an extensive public debate on their penal management. The public interventions revolved around the emotions of the perpetrators and the jurors and had two aspects. One concerned the legal structure of honour as an emotion, described as intervening at the moment of the criminal act, and its assessment by the jury as a mitigating circumstance. The second referred to the emotions expressed by the jurors through their verdicts and explored to what degree these registered the existence of a cultural value system shared by the perpetrators and the jurors judging them. The much-discussed leniency which was systematically attributed to the jurors trying «honour crimes» gradually led, in the 1960s, to the contestation of the jury system of penal justice." [32]

"The Greek legal system is a member of the family of European laws and is especially influenced by German and French law. For the most part, Greek law is codified and, unlike Anglo-American common law, only enacted laws either in the form of codes or other statutes are the sources of law in addition to custom and international law (Civil Code, Art. 1). The importance of custom, however, is minimal." [33]

Greek law classifies any person between seven and seventeen years of age as a juvenile. The crime rate among juveniles in Greece is rather low compared with those in other Western countries. It is confined mainly to petty theft and property damage. [34]

Rights[edit | edit source]

"Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From: a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life There were no reports that the government or its agents committed any politically motivated killings during the year; however, immigrant activists alleged that police officers killed one person in a scuffle. In December 2008 authorities arrested two police officers for the December 2008 killing of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos and charged them with intentional homicide and complicity in homicide. The killing set off weeks of riots and demonstrations by youths and self-styled anarchists in cities across the country. The trial was pending at year's end. On January 8, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), in the case Leonidis vs. Greece, determined that the country had violated the right to life of an 18-year-old-youth who was accidentally killed by a police officer in 2000 during an arrest. According to media and immigrant NGOs, on January 3, a Bangladeshi man died when he fell into a ravine after an alleged scuffle with police. His death followed the death of a Pakistani man in October 2008 at the same spot. Police denied any involvement in the incidents, which took place close to immigration headquarters where hundreds of immigrants gathered every week to submit applications for asylum. Some nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) representing Muslim and immigrant groups criticized the police for brutality and poor organization of asylum processing procedures. In October the media reported that the new minister for citizen's protection held an unprecedented meeting with Pakistani community leaders to discuss ways to prevent future incidents. The trial in the 2007 case of a border guard, who shot and killed an Albanian immigrant attempting to illegally cross the Greek-Albanian border, remained pending at year's end. On February 4, the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights reported that, since 1995, at least 108 persons attempting to cross the border had been killed and another 187 persons were severely injured by marked minefields in the Evros area along the Greek-Turkish border. No minefield-related deaths were reported during the year. b. Disappearance There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances. c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment The law prohibits such practices and provides safeguards for criminal suspects and illegal immigrants in detention. However, during the year several international organizations and NGOs reported abuse by police personnel and the coast guard, particularly of undocumented immigrants, asylum seekers, and Roma." "2009 Human Rights Report: Greece." [35]

Family Law[edit | edit source]

Marriage lisences take about a week to be issued, after an application is sent in , and is credible for half a year. A wedding or ceremony can legal be performed anywhere in Greece, as long as an application is sent to whomever is in power of that community, regarding the place that they will be married. That person in power is then responsible for setting the date of the ceremony. There needs to be at least two witnesses, (whom can be choosen by those getting married), one serving as an interpreter, and these witnesses must have proof with them, that they are Greek citizens.[36]

"Divorce requires a court decision that is no longer open to appeal. Proceedings are of two kinds: (a) In a divorce by consent, the spouses agree to dissolve the marriage between them, and make a joint petition to the single-judge court of first instance of the place. There is no litigation, the procedure being that followed in non-contentious cases. The couple must have been married one year or longer. (b) In a contested divorce, one of the spouses brings an action seeking dissolution of the marriage, on stated grounds, before the multi-member court of first instance of the place, or both spouses bring such actions separately." [37]

"Adults between the ages of 30 and 60, and who are at least 18 years older than the person to be adopted (this holds for adult adoption as well, however the adopting parent must be at least 40 years of age, and there is no upper age limit). Adopting parents may be married or single. If married, both parties must adopt jointly except in the case of stepparent adoption (rare exceptions may be allowed). If single, only one person may adopt. Co-parent adoption by unrelated single persons is not permitted." [38]

"Greek Inheritance Law provides the bequest of the deceased's property to his legal heirs in two ways: by virtue of a will or in intestacy. In case that the deceased has left a Greek will, the bequest of the inherited property, i.e. the transfer of the property under the names of his heirs, appointed by the deceased, and to what property parts they are entitled to, is arranged according to the provisions of the Greek will. The law provides three types of Greek wills: • The holographic will; written entirely by the hand of the testator, who writes the date of the Will, and signs same, verifying its content. • The public will, which consists of the testator's last will and testament and is executed before a Notary Public under the presence of three witnesses. • The secret will. The testator delivers the document to the Notary Public, stating that the document consists of his last Will and testament, under the presence of three witnesses" [39]

"According to Greek Family Law (Civil Code), during the marriage both parents have joint custody of the child. Custody includes care of the child's person, management of his/her property and the representation of the child in any matter, legal transaction or Court action relating to the child's person and/or to the child's property as well as decision making regarding the child's educational needs, place of residence etc. In case of a divorce, both parents continue to have the legal custody of the minor child; however, there is a need for a regulation of physical custody. According to Article 1513 of the Civil Code, in the case of a divorce physical custody in Greece is regulated by the Court. The most common solution that Greek Courts order for the regulation of physical custody is to assign it to one of the parents, whom the Court considers most appropriate to exercise it. If the parents agree to continue to share physical custody after the divorce, the Court may decide that both parents can continue to exercise the custody, provided that they also agree regarding the place of residence of the child. Moreover, the Court may divide the physical custody between the parents." [40]

"The Greek juvenile justice system has been traditionally characterized by the principle of education, protection, support and integration of the minor. Particularly, the new law (Act 3189/2003 ‘Reform of Criminal Legislation on Minors and Other Provisions’, in force since 21 October 2003) aims at strengthening not only the principle of education but also the rule of law (‘due process of law’) and care for crime victims in the way that the juveniles’ (re)integration into society can be achieved. The modernization of the juvenile justice system came through the adoption of a large variety of non-custodial educational measures which consider the deprivation of liberty as a measure of last resort, the development of non-custodial therapeutic measures, the consideration of the victim’s interests, the abolition of indeterminate sentences, the introduction of diversion at the prosecutorial stage and the extension of the scope of the right to appeal to a higher judicial body." [41]

Elders are treated no different than those over the age of 18, and women do have citizenship rights.

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