NICOSIA: Fifteen Cyprus police officers face criminal prosecution for botching any search for seven missing foreign women and children who were victims of a serial killer, officials said on Tuesday (May 5).
Greek Cypriot army captain Nikos Metaxas is serving life for murdering five women and two children after pleading guilty to serial killings that shocked the Mediterranean island.
Last June, the Nicosia Criminal Court said that 35-year-old had "embarked on a campaign to kill defenceless women".
A statement by the Cypriot state legal services on Tuesday said that attorney general Costas Clerides has "given instructions to launch criminal prosecutions against 15 members of the Cyprus Police Force".
It added: "After a thorough study of all the evidence? the attorney general ruled that criminal offences were indeed committed in the handling of these cases i.e. a failure to perform official duties by public officials."
This follows a lengthy independent investigation into how Cyprus police officers handled initial missing person reports of the women and children whose bodies were later recovered in a lake, a field and a mineshaft.
The probe said the police did not just bungle the investigation but showed negligence in not taking the missing reports of foreign women and children seriously.
The legal services said the evidence indicates that police actions ?went beyond any possible disciplinary offences? that could be explained by oversight or workload.
An independent inquiry was ordered amid public outrage that some of the victims could have been saved had police done their job.
The case, involving the worst peace-time atrocities against women in Cyprus in memory, horrified an island where serious crime is relatively rare and forced the resignation of the justice minister and the police chief.
A four-member team of investigators was assigned to the case last year to examine potentiaRead More – Source