Cyprus Today

Judge: 26% rise in criminal cases


THE number of criminal cases recorded in the TRNC’s courts is up by more than a quarter compared to last year, the country’s most senior judge has revealed.

Chief Justice Narin Ferdi Şefik gave out the figure during a press conference in the courtyard of the Lefkoşa courts complex to mark the start of the 2022-2023 judicial year last Friday.

She said she decided to hold the press briefing outdoors as a money-saving option and because the Covid19 pandemic is “not over yet”.

Chief Justice Şefik said that while there has been a six per cent decrease in civil cases compared to last year, the number of criminal cases has risen by approximat­ely 26 per cent over the same period, adding that “it is concerning that the highest number of cases” are for drugs-related offences. The second most common criminal cases are for forging official documents, she said.

She also touched upon the courts’ needs including new judges and new headquarte­rs in Lefkoşa.

Chief Justice Şefik stated that there are issues with court buildings in other districts of North Cyprus and that the Lefke Court building in particular “has a problem that cannot be resolved”.

The judge also referred to the law passed by Parliament earlier this year to delay local elections from June to November, a move later declared as “unconstitu­tional” and annulled by the Constituti­onal Court.

Chief Justice Şefik noted that this situation had caused “uproar” because with the publicatio­n of the Constituti­onal Court’s decision in the Official Gazette, the duties of the mayors, councillor­s, muhtars and “elders” effectivel­y expired after June.

The Constituti­on states that local elections must be held once every four years, with the last elections taking place in June 2018.

She said that Parliament then decided to hold the local elections on December 25, 2022, and that “we are keeping tabs on the process”.

She added: “It is impossible to go back to June 2022 so an election cannot be held as determined in the TRNC Constituti­on. However, if any legislatio­n is duly made, it becomes binding for everyone.

“As long as the Constituti­onal Court does not annul this legislatio­n, it is valid.”

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