Justice delayed is justice denied.

That basic principle of the rule of law comes to mind with the case of serial killer Nikos Metaxas in Cyprus.

The case that shocked all Cypriots was not allowed to drag on.

The culprit was tried in a timely manner that did not insult the public’s sense of justice or the memory of his victims.

Obviously no one could imagine such a murderer walking the streets in Cyprus just because the 18-month limit of incarceration expired before a verdict was delivered, as occurs in Greece.

As different as the Greek and Cypriot judicial systems may be, there is no doubt that our democracy can draw lessons from the rule of law in the Republic of Cyprus.

The murderer of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas, Golden Dawn member Yorgos Roupakias (photo R, Golden Dawn training), is under house arrest because his trial had not been completed in 18 months (and still has not).

The trial of Golden Dawn as a criminal organisation has dragged on for four years, longer than the Nuremberg trials.

Cases that never receive publicity are equally disheartening.

Citizens must wait for years to be vindicated. Sometimes they never receive justice.

Measures to ensure a timely meting out of justice must be a top priority for the next government.

That is not only because that is a fundamental component of a contemporary state operating under the rule of law, but also because it is necessary in order to ensure the authority of the judiciary and its functionaries.