Judicial reform and anti-corruption measures were the focus on Wednesday of an address given by the president at the swearing-in ceremony for four new supreme court justices, two men and two women.
Dora Socrates, Lena Demetriadou Andreou, Ioannis Ioannidis and Nikolas Santis, President Nicos Anastasiades said, were chosen to the highest office of the country’s judiciary for their legal competence, sense of responsibility and integrity of character.
He expected them, he added to uphold the constitution, the principles and values that govern the proper functioning of the rule of law, as well as defending citizens’ rights “since all of you are worthy of your appointment”.
On judicial reform, Anastasiades ran through progress made since 2013 including the modernisation of the structure and operation of the courts, increasing the number of judges, establishing an academy for the training of judges, and promoting the digitisation of courts and electronic justice (e-Justice).
He also mentioned the establishment of new courts, such as the administrative court which has been operating since January 2016. There are also proposals for a maritime court and commercial court. This is in addition to new court buildings either created or renovated.
The president said every step being taken was a move closer to the faster resolution of disputes. The judicial system has been under fire for the delays in court cases and for its slowness in entering the 21st century when it comes to technology.
Anastasiades also brought up the issue of corruption. He said that after suggestions from the political parties, NGOs and anti-corruption institutions, and the Bar Association, “we are preparing a new package of measures that will be announced before the end of the year”.
“The reason for the delay is because we want to have the views of all those involved. With the minister of justice and the attorney-general, and other collaborators, we will prepare concrete proposals in addition to what we already have so that there is finally an effective, radical tackling of the phenomenon of corruption,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the four new judges, Socrates said, appointment to the supreme court was a great honour, but even greater was “is the enormous responsibility and burden of the task we are called to perform with conscientiousness, patience and courage, without prejudice and favour”.