President Anastasiades says no intention of excluding AG over justice reform

President Nicos Anastasiades said on Wednesday there was no intention on behalf of the government to exclude the attorney-general from discussions on the reform of the justice system and he did not want a row over the subject.

The president was questioned over the decision to exclude Costas Clerides from a committee set up to discuss much-needed reform in the justice system, an exclusion which angered the attorney-general.

“The attorney-general is the state’s legal adviser and certainly there was no way of not asking a legal opinion as regards the justice reforms,” the president said.

Anastasiades said he did not have any contacts with the attorney-general personally but the justice minister had.

“And anyway, every bill goes through the Legal Service,” he said, adding he did not wish to have a row with an institution which shared the objective of modernising the justice system.

On Tuesday, Clerides said it was not enough for the Legal Service to simply process the reform bills after they were finalised.

“These are not simply government policy matters, but fundamental state and constitutional matters and the state’s Legal Service cannot be left outside,” Clerides said.

His comments followed those made by government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou in the morning that the decision to exclude the attorney-general had been taken by the president.

He added, however, that Clerides’ views would be taken into consideration.

Clerides and Anastasiades engaged in a public spat in 2015 over the fate of deputy attorney-general Rikkos Erotokritou, who was eventually jailed for corruption.

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