Beleaguered Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou, who has faced repeated calls to resign over how police handled the case of women reported as missing and later found murdered, said on Wednesday that he has taken his decisions and will be informing President Nicos Anastasiades when they meet tomorrow.
The president has been abroad in China as a stunned public opinion follows the gruesome discovery of the bodies of four murder victims and a search for another three.
A 35 year old army officer is in police custody and has reportedly confessed to killing five women and children from 2016 to 2018. At least six were reported missing and police have come under fire for failing to investigate properly when their disappearance was first reported. Police counter that the law prohibits them to request the lifting of privacy of telecommunications. An administrative inquiry is nevertheless underway, though critics say this is too little too late.
In a written statement on Wednesday, Nicolaou said that he has taken his personal decisions which he was awaiting the president’s return to inform first.
The minister said he has been following statements calling on him to shoulder political responsibility and resign because of the way police handled the case of missing persons. He said that he has throughout his political life “been strict as regards the principles which determine shouldering political responsibility, even if there is no personal responsibility.”
He voiced shock at the crimes, and said that he had not — prior to the revelation of the murders — he had not been briefed either about the police’s handling of the disappeared women, and had taken his decisions.