Fifteen police officers facing prosecution over how they handled the disappearance of several foreign women who turned out to be the victims of a serial killer have been charged, and authorities were now preparing to submit the case in court. It emerged on Thursday.
The head of the independent police watchdog said investigators were now drafting the list of witnesses, which will be attached to the charge sheet before the case is filed.
The group, which includes constables, sergeants, and officers, faces a single charge relating to failure to perform their duties.
The watchdog head Andreas Paschalides said on Thursday the watchdog would look into whether the 15 officers or any other members of the force had committed any disciplinary offenses.
A 35-year-old army officer, Nicos Metaxas, killed five women and two children over two years.
The killings emerged in April 2019, after the body of one of the women was found in a mine shaft at Mitsero.
By June last year, police had recovered the other victims at the mine, in a nearby lake, in a field near a firing range, and at another lake some kilometers away.
Police were heavily criticized for allegedly mishandling the cases when some of the victims were reported missing by friends and families, and not treating the disappearances seriously.
Any additional disciplinary offenses will be adjudicated by force itself with the independent watchdog having no authority to intervene.
Paschalides suggested the police disciplinary board should have been headed by an independent state attorney to ensure impartiality. The watchdog should also have the right to appeal any decisions it disagreed with, he added.
The watchdog had asked parliament to amend the law so that it would have a say in disciplinary procedures, but nothing has been done to date.