By Ioanna Mandrou

New, unforeseen obstacles have arisen in the trial of those responsible for the 100-year-old death toll in the deadly fire in Mati, greatly increasing the risk that the case will be time-barred and the social demand for justice will be futile.

The trial, which is still being conducted in the first instance, although the tragedy happened five years ago, in 2018, in July, was suspended for July 24, as the election to Parliament of Rena Douros by the main defendants, caused the court’s decision to sending the case file to parliament in order to request – and grant – the lifting of immunity for the former governor.

Without the lifting of her immunity, the trial could not continue, as the former regional governor, after her election as a member of parliament, can only be tried with the permission of the Parliament.

The case file will then be forwarded to the Parliament through the prosecution authorities, and it is currently unknown whether the parliament will be able to lift Rena Douro’s immunity by the 24th of the month, when the trial was suspended, so that the trial can continue normally.

However, the former governor of Attica and current SYRIZA member of parliament Rena Douro in a statement through her lawyers, she said that waives her own immunity to stand trialexpecting a fair trial, while a sensation has been caused by the fact that while the trial has been going on for months, Rena Dourou does not appear in court, nor does she sit on the defendant’s bench.

It should be noted here that after the development of the interruption of the trial due to Rena Douro’s parliamentary status, the delay that will be caused in the continuation of the judicial process is serious, as anyway the long-suffering case about the tragedy in Mati is in the red for statute of limitations, as the first-instance trial is expected to be completed in 2024, while the appeals court is unknown when it will start and when it will end.

The risk of the statute of limitations is also increased for the reason that the defendants, mainly officials of the competent services, Fire Civil Protection and self-administrative agents, are being tried for misdemeanors, as it was not possible to charge some of them with a felony charge, while the investigative process for the case lasted for a long time, while the request submitted by the former prosecutor of the Supreme Court, Vasilios Pliotas, for the investigative procedures to be taken over by the appellant investigator, unfortunately, was not accepted and, therefore, the case entered the gears of delays, of the multiplicity of and the risk of statute of limitations…

Finally, the decision to stop the trial for July 24 was announced by the president of the trial, Maria Gaouri, while Rena Douro’s intention to waive her immunity was announced to the court by her lawyer Theodoros Schoinas.