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Outgoing justice minister to stay on for two more weeks

Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou leaves the presidential palace after submitting his resignation on May 2

Outgoing Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou will remain in office for 15 more days to handle the justice reform bills, the government said on Wednesday.

Nicolaou resigned early this month over the apparent police failures in investigating the disappearances of foreign women and two children who turned out to be the victims of a serial killer.

Government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said Wednesday the president had asked Nicolaou to stay for another two weeks to oversee crucial justice reform bills. Nicolaou will leave office on June 1, Prodromou said.

The minister’s resignation was followed by the dismissal of police chief Zacharias Chrysostomou.

The independent police watchdog is currently looking into the affair that has shocked the island.

New chief Kypros Michaelides said his intention was to rid the force of any members who did not carry out their duty as they ought to.

Speaking before a joint session of the House human rights and legal affairs committees, Michaelides said based on the findings of the probe, the leadership will decide on how to tackle any shortcomings to avoid potential mistakes in the future.

He said the case will become part of the curriculum at the police academy.

The issue emerged on April 14 after the accidental discovery of a woman’s body inside a mine shaft in Mitsero.

It was followed by the discovery of a second body in the same shaft and the arrest of army officer Nicos Metaxas, 35, who has since confessed, according to police, to killing five foreign women and two children, the daughters of two of the women.

It quickly emerged that three of the women and the two children had been reported missing a couple of years ago but police had not carried out a proper investigation into their fate.

Authorities have since recovered five bodies and are still looking for two more in two lakes in Mitsero and Xyliatos.

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