Presidential candidate Achilleas Demetriades said the investigation into the death of national guardsman Thanasis Nicolaou, whose body was found under a bridge in Alassa in 2005, is essentially flawed as attorney-general George Savvides is both in control of the inquiry and representing an office that was allegedly informed about the suspected cover-up.
Demetriades said the European Court of Human Rights’ (ECHR) judgement that led to the decision to reopen the case and exhume Nicolaou’s body clashes with Savvides’ current involvement.
“The criminal investigation into the guardsman’s death is a concrete example of why the justice system in Cyprus needs to be changed,” he said.
“The responsibilities of the attorney-general, on the one hand a legal advisor of the government, and on the other, the head of an office that mishandled the case, cannot coexist.”
Demetriades said that the AG’s office had ruled Nicolaou’s death as a suicide, a ruling that was later reversed after the ECHR deemed that there was insufficient proof to uphold it.
“Now the AG office is called to investigate its earlier ruling. But how can an effective and impartial investigation take place when the same office failed to consider all the evidence of the case before?” he asked.
“I therefore agree with the positions adopted by Nicolaou’s family, who, in a letter to all presidential candidates, are calling for a constitutional or other legal revision so that the institution responsible for criminal prosecutions is not appointed by the executive, but is selected through an open process,” Demetriades said.
“Should I be elected, it will be one of the first issues I will address.”