• 2000-04-06
We have seen the time come and go when Latvia's parliament in politicizing the country's institution of right and wrong to their own means decided top prosecutor Janis Skrastins was not serving up a popular brand of justice. Bye, bye, Mr. Skrastins.

Now more recent and fresher winds have blown vindication Mr. Skrastins' way in the Supreme Court's finding that he was doing his job correctly. We assume that even means it was OK for him to keep his findings close to the vest while he investigated the pedophilia follies.

A worthy nominee to take Skrastins' chair, Supreme Court Judge Ilgars Zigfrids Septeris, appeared at first to have roses on his nose, being recognized for 25 years' experience and his reputation as an "honest" lawyer. Parliament gave him the thumbs down.

Typically, the reason eschews sunlight, but a legal expert posited that an unacknowledged conflict of interest in his past career stands between him and MPs' approval. We don't question the means, although the mechanics may well be political despite Parliament's fastidious requirements for morality and evenhandedness, but applaud the results.

If Judge Septeris doesn't know conflict of interest when he hears it knocking, he doesn't need to be sitting in a chair where he will be subjected to a lot of opportunity rapping, rapping on his chamber door.

Never mind that some MPs who rejected Judge Septeris may have at least a speaking acquaintance with conflict of interest. A general prosecutor drawing the bottom line cannot. If Septeris has an unresolved conflict of interest, he should not have the job. Parliament did right in rejecting his candidacy.

If there is any way for a sector of Latvia's MPs to redeem themselves from themselves and the current scandal, it is to affirm the moral will to have an independent, operative justice system including a prosecutor whose incorruptibility is beyond question.

That way, Latvia can vigorously investigate human rights violations from the aspect of the victims and carry out an important role in societal condemnation of such acts. Ten years is not a long time, but it has been long enough to learn some better practices and principles.