The Research Institute’s objectives
The “Research Institute for Transparency, Corruption and Financial Crime” (RITCFC) intends to cater to the teaching and research needs of the Law School and other Faculties of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, as well as to contribute to the planning of Greece’s institutional reconstruction towards increased transparency and more effectively addressing corruption and financial crime, based on the rule of law. For this purpose, the Institute develops activities that promote these objectives in practice and enhance awareness among State authorities as well as within civil society about the importance of their achievement. In this context, a self-evident objective of the Institute is supporting those institutions that contribute in general to the functioning of the State according to the rule of law, and in particular to the proper administration of justice.
The main pillars of the Institute’s approach and activities
It is now universally recognised among legal scholars that –previously underestimated vis-à-vis their harmful social potential– instances of lack of transparency, corruption and economic crime are social practices that pose a threat to equality of opportunities, to the fair distribution of wealth and to the very foundations that secure the prosperity of peoples, as they undermine fundamental principles that are important for the democratic functioning of individual societies, such as impartiality, objectivity, equality before the law and the protection of vulnerable social groups. These occurrences, as well as and the economic practices that cause them or accompany them, at the same time compromise structural elements of national economic systems, thus negating, in essence, all efforts for an economically efficient and equitable allocation of resources and proceeds, for a fair production and distribution of goods and for the prevalence of a free, fair and socially beneficial competition between the various relevant actors. In light of the above, taking into account the current circumstances in Greece, the development of a reliable system of rules and principles for an optimal and comprehensive combatting of incidents of lack of transparency, corruption and economic crime by all fields of law, as well as the support of the proper functioning of the justice system for this purpose, are both a necessity and a high priority social demand.
The Institute, being a permanent organization of focused and interdisciplinary academic research and teaching that deals comprehensively with these incidents, encourages and supports young scholars in their relevant research, aims to contribute to increased awareness vis-à-vis transparency in the public sphere as well as in private dealings, while it also develops activities relating to the application of the law in practice and seeks to operate permanently in an advisory capacity for the legislature. In particular, the Institute aims to enable the continued formulation of reliable proposals and to support the Greek government in designing a rational, systematic and effective strategic plan for the combating and prevention of relevant incidents, as well as for the reform –as required– of the relevant institutional framework with respect for fundamental civil rights and for the European legal culture principles of the rule of law. At the same time, the Institute aims to highlight the crucial role of an independent, rule-of-law-oriented and efficient administration of justice in Greece and to contribute to that through its various activities.