The portrayal of Nikos Koshis as a role model for combating organized crime, being showcased on various TV stations whenever crime rates surge, has consistently caused me significant embarrassment. Similarly, the inclination to romanticize practices from the 1990s, a period marked by some police acting without restraint, and the underworld factions engaging in street warfare, adds to this discomfort.
In a democracy governed by principles and laws, such practices should be condemned, not normalized. However, in a well-functioning state, laws must be enforced, and institutions should inspire citizens with a sense of security under the rule of law.
For a rule of law, prioritizing a sense of security is crucial. Governments should appoint competent individuals to relevant posts, ensuring justice delivery and instilling societal confidence.
The perplexing approval from a section of society and the media for practices that should be condemned in a normal state raises questions. Incidents marked by impunity, lack of accountability, and apparent inefficiency have severely damaged institutions, contributing to the discouragement of organized crime.
The newly appointed Minister of Justice faces an immediate challenge to prove himself capable and to implement effective policies. However, the selection of an individual seemingly unaware of the crime surge and its suppression methods raises concerns about the state leadership's decision-making.
The Minister's first move, announcing the presence of uniformed officers in the historic city center to deter crime, was met with a swift response from organized crime. Within twenty-four hours, an assassination attempt in Larnaca Avenue, a shooting in Yeri, an explosion in a café in Prodromou, and the arson of a public prosecutor's car in Paphos occurred, indicating the measure's ineffectiveness.
Even if the Minister is capable, the effectiveness of restoring security is questioned given the perceived inability of Police Chief Stelios Papatheodorou. Incidents in stadiums, chaos in Chloraka and Limassol, and the demoralization of organized crime reveal his shortcomings. The fact that the President is actively seeking his replacement further underscores the issue.
The Attorney General's indignation, emphasizing the need for action over statements and wishful thinking, raises the question of how he ensured the preservation of the institution he serves. Issues like the impression of covering up crimes and potential conflicts of interest with Nicos Anastasiades have contributed to the erosion of the justice system.
For a rule of law, prioritizing a sense of security is crucial. Governments should appoint competent individuals to relevant posts, ensuring justice delivery and instilling societal confidence. Unfortunately, institutions designed to prevent crime, combat corruption, and deliver justice appear entangled in party collusion and political interests, suggesting an unsettling interconnectedness.
[This op-ed was translated from its Greek original and may have been edited for brevity and clarity]