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Next Previous Under the microscope of the Audit Office the non-application of cuts in the salaries of judges HOME • INSIDER • CYPRUS • Under the microscope of the Audit Office the non-application of cuts in …
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The non-application of cuts in the salaries of Judges as was the case in the entire public service in 2012, the delay in the adjudication of cases, the security of buildings and evidence as well as the process of upgrading the judicial system through the introduction of the audiovisual system by 2025 , were the main issues discussed today in the Parliamentary Audit Committee, in the context of the examination of the report of the Auditor General of the Republic for the Judicial Service.
Speaking after the hearing, Commission Chairman Zacharias Koulias said that one of the main issues raised was the delay in justice, which is not solely due to the Judiciary, as there is also the support infrastructure that needs to be provided.
He said that in the past there was an order while in the course of time the Courts became poor relatives and the appropriate resources were not given so that the Judiciary has all the support needed to properly conduct a trial .
The big problem, he said, was created after the great economic crisis as the Parliament with the great multiplicity that it adopted created great difficulties in the adjudication of cases in the absence of case law. As he said, when a Judge was dealing with haircut cases, for example, he did not have case law and guidelines before him. He added that today the huge volume that the courts have before them concerns the complex cases of banks, which become even more difficult due to the complex legal system created by the legislature.
Regarding the field of computerization and the audiovisual system, Mr. Koulias said that today the Commission was informed that the procedure has been prepared and is in the final stage of installing a modern audiovisual system that will help everyone, especially the Judges. .
Regarding the issue of court security, Mr. Koulias said that this mainly concerns the State and especially the Ministry of Justice, which, as the Commission was informed today, will entrust the issue of security to a private police. “Private police in the sensitive areas of the Courts are very wrong. “That should have been the responsibility of the police,” he said.
DISY MP Rita Theodorou Superman, in her own statements, said that an issue that concerned the Audit Committee and which was in the Auditor General's Report was the non-cutting of judges' salaries as provided by the relevant legislation passed by Parliament in 2012 and “It should not have happened to the rest of the public service as well.” .
He stated that, as clarified, the Supreme Court in its decision in 2013 stated that according to the Constitution no one can reduce the salary of Judges. In 2016, the Attorney General stated that the cuts could be applied in the cases of newly appointed judges. However, the Supreme Judicial Council in the appointment of new judges in 2016 did not include provisions in the terms of acceptance in their appointment contract, a fact that was resolved in 2020 and had created a problem in the General Accounting Office to make similar cuts. From 2020, new Judges are subject to a 20% voluntary contribution.
On the general picture of the Courts, and in particular the condition of the buildings, the delays in the trial, the security of the buildings and the security of the evidence, Ms. Superman said that the Judiciary today faces a lot of problems due mainly to the anachronistic way. disproportionate increase in cases and lack of technical support.
He said it was positive that improvement steps were being taken, such as the implementation of e-Justice regulations, which provide for the full implementation of the audiovisual system by 2025.
AKEL MP Irini Charalambidou, referring to the issue of non-cutting salaries, said that the principle of equality was not applied in the case of Judges. As he mentioned, in 2012 all the citizens underwent cuts and freezes on the basis of the Memorandum while with a Court decision the decision for cuts was revoked. However, he added, there was a view that for the new recruitments of Judges in the letter of appointment it should be mentioned that the same cuts and the same memorandum consequences would apply as for the rest of the citizens, until 2023.
Instead, he said, the Supreme Court did not follow this position and issued letters of appointment with a 20% voluntary cut, which stopped in 2017 instead of 2023 when the memorandum charges for all citizens would stop. The Audit Office was very persistent on this issue and therefore in September 2021, the President of the Supreme decided to change the letters of appointment in order to remove the cuts in 2023. However, he said, a long time has passed in which many recruitments and some once again received special and special treatment.
On the issue of delaying the trial of cases, Ms. Charalambidou said that this issue concerns the Commission as when a case is late to be tried we can not talk about justice. On the issue of document security, he stressed that the procedures must be strictly followed so that the security of the evidence is never endangered.
DIPA MP Alekos Tryfonidis said that based on the findings of the Auditor General, the financial audit and the compliance report, weaknesses were found in compliance with the provisions of relevant laws and regulations, delays in the implementation of various projects, delays and delays in delays obligations of parties, delays in the timely issuance of court rulings and increases, review of court fees and modernization of the collection method.
, he said.
He added that there is a serious shortage of both personnel and technical equipment, which causes further delays in the examination of cases.
Safeguarding the material used for the courts is a major issue. “We note on the basis of the report of the Protocol that everything necessary has been done to make special rooms with modern standards for storage of material so that the misdemeanors of recent years do not occur, where material is either stolen or set on fire, resulting in lost cases in courts,” he said. .
We stressed, he continued, in the most obvious way that we will not tolerate another delay for the construction of new courts in the province of Nicosia. “It is tragic to admit that since 1969 we have been trying to build a new building complex in the courts of Nicosia, which is a shame for the judicial service, the officials and all the employees,” he said.
“We asked to be given the report of the facts about where the issue is, because in the last six years, while the study is finished, the construction of the buildings is not progressing. “We will be decisive after the report of the Protocol, so that the construction of the new courts of Nicosia can begin in a short time”, he said.