Ministerial criminal liability in the Greek legal order: A concise critical review

The criminal liability of ministers in Greece has always given ample cause for deliberations and heated debates in both the political and the academic worlds. It follows an essentially extraordinary path that is quite differentiated from common criminal procedure, and it is established in the controversial provision of Article 86.1 of the Greek Constitution. It states that only the Greek Parliament has the power to prosecute incumbent or even former ministers for alleged criminal offenses committed during the discharge of their duties. From an institutional point of view, the above-mentioned regime deviates from the principle of separation of powers, given that it entrusts a purely political body—such as the parliament—with the exercise of judicial powers. The authors argue that it may mean that the vague notion of political responsibility tends to grip its criminal counterpart, leading to penal exemption and rising mistrust in political institutions.