Cyprus’ justice minister has resigned over the country’s serial killer case amid reports of lapses in investigating missing persons’ reports.

Ionas Nicolaou said Thursday that he was stepping down because it was a matter of “conscience and principle.” But he said Thursday that he bore no responsibility in the “apparent lapses” by police in its initial handling of missing persons’ cases.

He said a key reason that led to his resignation, which the Cyprus president accepted, was that those investigative gaps concern not only the police but also society’s “attitudes and perceptions that honor none of us.”

Members of the Cyprus Special Disaster Response Unit search for suitcases in a man-made lake, near the village of Mitsero outside of the capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. British forensics experts helping to tackle the Cyprus serial killer case visited a toxic lake Tuesday where a suitcase was found with a decomposed body inside as criticism mounted of how Cypriot police initially handled the disappearances of several victims. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
Members of the Cyprus Special Disaster Response Unit search for suitcases in a man-made lake, near the village of Mitsero outside of the capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. British forensics experts helping to tackle the Cyprus serial killer case visited a toxic lake Tuesday where a suitcase was found with a decomposed body inside as criticism mounted of how Cypriot police initially handled the disappearances of several victims. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

A Cypriot army captain has admitted to killing seven foreign women and girls as police continue the search for the bodies of three of the victims.

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