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21 June, 2024
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Murders shake Cyprus, prompting reflection on crime and leadership

Recent murders evoke memories of past struggles, while questions arise about modern policing

Apostolis Tomaras

Apostolis Tomaras

In a shocking turn of events, two murders occurred within a span of just a few hours, stealing the limelight from the ongoing turmoil in neighboring Israel and evoking grim memories of times long past. These incidents, marked by cold-blooded executions, have left an indelible mark, reminiscent of an era when local crimes transcended Cyprus' borders, piquing the interest of the Greek media, which had hitherto been indifferent to the island's happenings.

During that tumultuous period, tensions among factions in cities like Limassol and Nicosia had spiraled out of control, thwarting the efforts of successive Justice Ministers to restore order. It was then that Nikos Koshis was called upon to lead the Ministry of Justice, handpicked by the late Glafkos Clerides. In a candid revelation made on the eve of the last presidential elections, Koshis shared his initial hesitations: "I was 67 years old then. Initially, I asked him (Glafkos Clerides) if I could offer support from behind the scenes." However, the resolute response from Clerides was, "Well, if you say you have solutions, why don't you come?"

In accepting the challenging role, Koshis embarked on a mission to tackle rampant crime. He reiterated his belief that while crime might persist, justifying it was unacceptable. Someone had to confront the criminals head-on. His unyielding determination was evident when criminal figures attempted to barge into his office for meetings. In Koshis' words, "Now there can't be anything like it."

The pivotal question remains: has the police adapted to the changing landscape of crime or remained mired in the past? It is deemed politically unacceptable for police leadership to promise the swift resolution of imminent crimes, only to be exposed within mere hours. This raises concerns about a systemic failure somewhere along the line, as reports of manpower shortages appear to be mere excuses. The onus should not fall on increasing the number of personnel as a solution.

The challenge of tackling organized crime calls for a comprehensive plan, credible sources of intelligence, and effective control measures. Crime is an unfortunate reality in societies, and the key lies in proactive actions rather than mere rhetoric. The prevailing circumstances underscore the need for a concerted effort to prevent extreme acts of revenge and score-settling. It is imperative to ascertain whether the police leadership is employing a unique form of "divide and rule" strategy to restore order in the nocturnal world, a possibility that seems far-fetched.

[This article was translated from its Greek original and may not convey the exact tone or nuance as its original]

Cyprus  |  crime  |  mafia

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