No closure for rape victims

Posted On Sep 21 2019 by

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Three Australian women have spoken out about their arduous and lengthy ordeal with the Greek Judicial System after their 2005 rape case is still nowhere near finished. For eight years, they have battled with adjournments, lengthy postponements, absences from lawyers and the accused and on top of that endured a constant back and forth between Australian and Greek judicial authorities. Two of the three Australian victims have broken their silence and are appalled by the lack of follow-through with the Greek justice system. For eight years, the victims have watched their attacker laugh and appear at peace with himself as a free man, while his defence lawyer asks for more and more time. The delays are mostly due to the successive procedural obstacles the defence council has put up. Defence lawyer and SYRIZA MP, Zoe Konstatopoulou has systematically used regular adjournments and appeals on procedural grounds for seven years to stall the case. On more than one occasion, Ms Konstatopoulou has failed to appear in court on her own accord, when she was needed in another case and because she was ill. She has even angered her own party, who pride themselves on fighting for the rights of victims of crime and minorities with her inability to close the case. Since 2006, the case has incurred two postponements due to the absence of victims and witnesses, three strikes and absenteeism from lawyers and judges and six postponements from the side counsel and the accused. One of the Australian victims cannot understand why the Greek system allows for a case to continue like this for no good reason. “Something like this would never happen in Australia,” she says. “I know that when someone is called as a witness they are treated with much more respect. “I can categorically say that this delay would not be tolerated, regardless of the social status of the accused.” For the three women, they have well and truly lost hope for a speedy verdict. For one of the victims, the whole process has left her disillusioned and tired. “It seems there is no part of the Greek judiciary system that respects victims of sexual violence or justice in general,” she says. “It’s very hard to explain how you feel after each court appearance, with the hope that this time the case will be closed. It’s scary to think that this man is free and likely to continue to offend.” During one of the court appearances in 2007, the accused even approached two of the victims outside the court. Allegations of undue delays became known mid last year to the General Secretariat for Equality. Secretary Mary Stratigaki among other expressed “sympathy to the victims of this extreme form of violence, who continue to undergo a painful and traumatic process.” The concerns were not followed up, as they began preparations for the elections. The case was expected to be continued last Friday.last_img read more