The Cyprus Police has proceeded with the identification and arrest of persons wanted abroad, through the Schengen Information System (SIS) which has been fully operational since July 25. This was reported today at a meeting of the House Standing Committee on Legal Affairs, which was informed about the operating parameters of the System.

A police spokesman said that between October 1-7 the system was evaluated and that a reassessment in the area of returns is pending. As he explained, as regards returns of third-country nationals, all return decisions are recorded in the SIS in order to verify that they are being executed.

The Commissioner for Personal Data Protection, Irene Loizidou Nicolaidou told the Commission that the system has been checked by her Office, both before and after its operation, and noted that such checks will be carried out continuously.

In statements after the meeting of the Committee, its President and DISY MP, Nikos Tornaritis, said that questions of a political nature arise from the operation of using the SIS in Cyprus, which is not a member of the Schengen zone and the system is implemented, without any legislation. Asked if this would make the system vulnerable if challenged in court, Mr Tornaritis said that this was also of concern to him and that he had received assurances that the regulation prevailed.

«Legislation must be rushed and there must be legislation, because Cyprus must be in harmony in practice with what is happening and what is co-decided in the EU,» Tornaritis said. He also said that information was requested on the stage of Cyprus’ assessment process for full accession to the Schengen zone and whether there are any significant elements that hinder full membership.

As he said, the opinion of the competent political superiors, namely the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior, was sought with their presence at a meeting of the Legal Affairs Committee, but this has not been possible so far. «Two weeks were given to find a common time and day to be able to exchange views on a political level on where Cyprus is going on this very important issue,» he concluded.