By Andreas C Chrysafis
December, 2014 (No 66) ©
Among the ashes of despair there is always a glimmer of hope that one day, a day will come when common sense will prevail to stop the burning of children on the alter of peoples’ hatreds and deficiencies. Today, violence seems to have mutated into barbarity; all in the name of religious fundamentalism and blind nationalism. Endless acts of cruelty by humans committed against other humans can never be justified under any circumstances and yet, they persist!
Evidently the current turmoil portrays that all uprisings across the globe share a common objective; an attempt to depose and replace an existing regime by force with its own form of government! Ironically, replacing one regime with another rarely guarantees that the new regime will fare much better than the previous one.
As a result of a rule of war mentality, today, proud nations have been fragmented into many rival factions aspiring for control at the cost of thousands of innocent lives. Rapes, killings, women sex slavery, torture, and brutalities have become the norm committed by a torrent of bullies in a world of spectators. Meanwhile the carnage and killing fields continue to grow unhampered by wars of insanity in the hands of evil minds.
Sanity prescribes that irrespective of one’s nationality, race or religion, all people are equal under the eyes of humanity. Indisputably, they are equal global citizens living in a global village and unique in diversity; a diversity that enriches cultures worldwide! Everyone’s rights are as important as the next and it’s that one common denominator that unites and provides the springboard for mankind to live in peace. Yet, world governments conveniently ignore to make meaningful efforts towards a harmonious coexistence.
The only hope available as a direct challenge to the status quo is: Rule of Law! Not in name only, but Rule of Just Law!
Nurtured and applied globally by the Judiciary it can develop into a universal rule to revolutionize thinking forever. In fact the observance of the Rule of Just Law is perhaps the closest people can get to a universal secular religion. It will serve to fulfill people’s aspirations without the temptation to use violence in a world riddled with injustice.
Aristotle’s nomocracy (nomokratia) aspired that the “law should govern” nations, and not by arbitrary government decisions, rulers, officials or despots. Time over and again it has shown that democratic governance has regressed into Rule by Law. This offers governments the legal tool to suppress people’s freedoms by introducing laws for political expediency and power. Those auspicious laws conflict with Rule of Law, which in fact is the only mechanism that can provide checks against abuse of power through corruption by autocrats so commonly found in democratic and other systems under Rule of Man.
The idea of Rule of Law as a secular “global religion”, which advocates that nobody is above the law and nobody is beneath the law either, is a philosophy that makes judges the guardians of the law and people’s rights. It demands that political leaders and democratic governments must not only proclaim their support of the Rule of Law but they must also act upon it. If not, one is then governed by a system that proclaims justice for all, and yet in practice, offers selective justice.
If the law is to serve the land and its people fairly and equally, then the law is to retain its independency as the supreme master of government, and not allow such mighty powers into the hands of temporary politicians who may not be re-elected again the next time around. Without laws no nation can be governed fairly on the basis of Justice that guarantees all freedoms to leap forward into prosperity. According to the Roman statesman Cicero, “we are all servants of the laws in order that we may be free”, and is certainly a perfect description of the importance of law.
But what is Rule of Law?
Rule of Law is a complex matter and not so simplistic. It does advocate however that every citizen is subject to the law of the land and Lord Bingham said it with clarity: “the rule of law requires that all should be bound by it and entitled to the benefit of the law of the land, whether they are private citizens or officials or prime ministers or presidents or police officers or soldiers or whatever”.
In reality it is not so easy to transmute the world in which great differences exist such as race, nationality and religion into universal harmony. But the strict observance of Rule of Law is the only hope available to create a universal political system to formulate governments based on nomocracy. The subject is complex but one thing is for certain; without the Rule of Law there can be no nation or civil society!
Most governments actually do follow the basic principle of rule of law but it has become apparent that many of those in power often misuse those same laws so crucial to the nation’s progress. That is where the major problem lies in most democracies; the manipulation and disinclination to enforce the law of the land for politically expediency!
One nation that possessed early hallmarks of becoming the new Switzerland of the Med was the Republic of Cyprus. Out of the ashes of colonialism 60 years ago it offered the golden opportunity to rise like a phoenix and become the centre of civil equality, law and justice by adopting a strict observance to Rule of Law but it was not meant to be.
Unfortunately, consecutive regimes instead of governing the fledgling Republic on Rule of Law they have chosen nepotism in its place along with no transparency. In fact they turned a blind eye to the burgeoning growth of corruption; a practice they often adopted when necessary and convenient.
Without a doubt such behaviour ultimately brought shame and ruin to an entire nation. Actually, Cyprus lost its credit rating internationally and also its trustworthiness. It reached so low, that without people’s consent the government robbed their bank accounts to bail out a crooked banking system. This displayed a classic case of brute institutional corruption at its best; an entire nation went to ruin economically and socially in order to facilitate a select minority! In the absence of Rule of Law justice never came into play.
Like all bad things, good things don’t just happen; people make them happen – and they did! The silent majority on the island spoke out against corruption that was lurking for years in high places. For the first time ever the new auditor and new chief of police, the prosecutor, the president and other officials in privileged positions dared to be counted and did the right thing; investigate, prosecute and incarcerate! For Cyprus this is a miracle.
The law of the land has finally spoken out against high profile names and corporations; associations including ministers; politicians, solicitors and municipal councils; mayors and many other “pillars of society” were all charged for implication in wrongdoing. That is a good sign for democracy and Rule of Law and better late than never!
The next step is to pool together brains of esteemed constitutional theorists; academics; philosophers; influential thinkers; legal brains, judges, law professors and other experts to establish a parliamentary and legally binding Think Tank House Chamber to serve as an independent advisory body to elected governments. Politicians and Kommatokratia (politicocracy) should have no say in such a House Chamber.
A nation without laws is a doomed nation and it will take many years before Cyprus corrects the bad mistakes of the past. But, if the current momentum of catharsis and prosecutions continue, the Republic will certainly recover once it fully adopts Rule of Law – if not, there is no hope…
Andreas C Chrysafis
Author – Writer – Artist