Stemming the Tide of Extremism: Recommendations for the Greek Government
Golden Dawn remains popular, even after revelations about its Nazi ideology, an active trial for members’ alleged roles in two murders and dozens of racist and other assaults, as well as attacks against medical clinics, teachers, artists, and bloggers in its self-appointed role as defender of “Greek racial superiority” across society.
Seventy members of Golden Dawn—including its senior leadership and 13 members of parliament—are on trial for membership in a criminal organization, as well as homicide and other specific crimes. The proceedings started in April 2015 and resumed in late September following a hiatus since May. Meanwhile, the neo-Nazi group’s political influence continues to grow, as evidenced by its consistent performance in the September 2015 national elections.
This extremist group’s enduring influence underscores the need for a rigorous and credible prosecution that meets the highest European judicial standards, with full protection for the rights of the accused, and is not tainted by accusations of political motivation.
Regardless of the outcome of the trial, the government should continue efforts to identify, dismiss, or where appropriate prosecute police and other officials who have aided, abetted, or participated in hate violence or criminal activity associated with Golden Dawn. Uprooting attitudes about racial superiority from public life will require a joint governmental–civil society action plan to combat hatred and violence, in accordance with Greece’s European Union, Council of Europe, and OSCE commitments.