Judges and prosecutors “laughing and chatting,” “lunching together”

A brief addendum to this post: in Italy as in Russia, prosecutors and judges often work as one team.

I wrote this, among other things, about one of the most shameful criminal trials in recent Russian history (followed by a belated parole):

While they were busy with the defendant, the judge would walk out into another room serving as her makeshift chambers where the prosecutor joined her. The defense counsel and human rights observers could hear her laughing and chatting with the prosecutor.

This, from what I have read, is not at all unusual in Russian courts. Compare this to what Nina Burleigh writes in The Fatal Gift of Beauty:

A peculiarity of Italian law… is that judges and prosecutors are technically on the same side, while judges are also asked to impartially weigh evidence. They come out of the same training program, and it is not uncommon to find judges and prosecutors lunching together during trials…

It’s a feature, not a bug; a peculiarity inherent in inquisitorial legal systems.


  1. The inability to separate the prosecution from the judiciary in Russia is one of the (many) things highlighted in the film Leviathan.

    • I’m going to watch it when the hype dies out. Just as I did with Elena and some other once-hot films. Elena turned out better than I thought.

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