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10 August, 2020
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Attorney General speaks to Kathimerini

Clerides: Reforms to the Cypriot Justice system should be implemented immediately


In an interview with Kathimerini Attorney General Costas Clerides said that the proposed reforms to the Cypriot Justice system should be implemented immediately.

The government had last month put forward a number of draft bills that would regulate the conduct of the Supreme Court. Among the proposed measures was the creation of an appeals court.

Responding to a question whether there is an issue of excessive influence by some law firms in our country due to close relationships between court officers and lawyers the Attorney General said that ''recent events and in particular the hearing of the two appeals concerning Bank of Cyprus confirm there is a problem''.

''No one has said that children or other relatives of judges should not work in law firms. No one has said that they should not work in influential firms or in any particular firm. However, when the time comes for a judge to hear a major case and before him appears the employer of his child, then the judge, if not ex-officio, should apply rigorously the principles laid down by the ECHR in the relevant decisions''.

Clerides also said that his relations with President Anastasiades ''have gone through very difficult times culminating in the events concerning the Assistant Attorney General.''

''However, even in times of crisis in relations between the Attorney General and the President of the Republic, it must be said that the necessary cooperation between the two has continued uninterrupted, and now that there does not seem to be anything that negatively affects good cooperation and humane relationship''.

Responding to a question regarding the investigations on the collapse of the banking system during the financial crisis Clerides said: 

''What matters in the case of criminal investigations on the economy is, in my view, not the number of cases brought before the Courts. To my knowledge, in similar cases in other countries experiencing a substantial collapse of their financial system, the number of cases against banks and / or bankers or other parties is not very high. The reason is that the vast majority of cases of bank collapse are attributed to mismanagement, wrong decisions, bad predictions and other actions or omissions. For many reasons, however, it is particularly difficult for a researcher to identify acts or omissions that are also criminal offenses. What is more important in such cases is that the investigating authorities, the prosecuting authorities and the judicial authorities have a clear message: that where any serious offense is found, any person involved in the act will be brought before the Court, regardless of how prominent they are within our society. And I believe that in our case, perhaps for the first time, where it was possible to collect satisfactory evidence from the investigative authorities, the Bank and its chairmen and board members and senior executive directors were led to the Court. This gives a strong message and it is, in my view, a serious deterrent against similar situations in the future.''

The full interview in Greek can be found here.

Clerides  |  Court  |  Justice  |  Supreme  |  Attorney  |  Cyprus  |  Bank  |  ECHR  |  Anastasiades

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