Judges have four candidates for European Public Prosecutor after all

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After the minister’s alert, the Supreme Council presents four more names of judges for the position, including Carlos Alexandre. The Ministério Público continues with only one.

The Superior Council of the Judiciary has announced that Carlos Alexandre is not the only candidate for the position of European Public Prosecutor after all. On May 12, the body that oversees magistrates extended an invitation to the entire judiciary. And the candidates turned out to be four: not only the judge who was until now in the so-called “Ticão”, but also judges Catarina Vasco Pires, Filipe Vilarinho Marques and Vítor Leitão Ribeiro. This time, the candidates for this position, which will be held by José Guerra until July, are five: these four judges and only one prosecutor, José Ranito, after the ‘finca pé’ of the PGR in refusing to select more candidates.

“This invitation arose following information sent by the Ministry of Justice, after the withdrawal of the two candidates proposed in previous procedure,” explains the CSM. “The deadline for submitting applications ended last May 19. The Permanent Council of the CSM, through its General Affairs section, validated four applications submitted and immediately communicated them to the Minister of Justice,” says the same note.

Another candidate to replace José Guerra in the European post is prosecutor José Ranito, who was responsible for the prosecution of the BES collapse.

On April 19 there were only two candidates, one from each council: prosecutor José Ranito, for the Superior Council of the Public Prosecutor’s Office (CSMP), and judge Ivo Rosa, for the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM). But Ivo Rosa eventually withdrew.

The magistrate justified that he was appointed as a judge of the panel for a case that is taking place at the International Criminal Court in The Hague and that is expected to last until 2024. Thus, if he were elected he would be prevented from beginning his work as a European prosecutor as early as July of this year.

In mid-February, the Advisory Council of the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) came out saying that there must be at least three candidates for the position, adding that the ideal number would be six.

Last week, the Superior Council of the Public Prosecutor’s Office (CSMP), headed by Lucília Gago, rejected, for the second time, a competition to select candidates for the position of European Public Prosecutor, after the Ministry of Justice requested more names due to the lack of candidates.

Therefore, the Ministry of Justice (MJ) had asked the Superior Council of Magistrates and the Superior Council of the Public Prosecutor’s Office to choose more candidates for the post of European Public Prosecutor, after the withdrawal of Judge Ivo Rosa. This request was accepted by the SJC, but not by the Superior Council of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, led by Lucília Gago.

This Thursday, the European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, also insisted in the Portuguese parliament that Portugal nominate three candidates for European Public Prosecutor.

Portuguese magistrate José Guerra – who holds the post until July – was nominated by the government for the post of European Public Prosecutor after being selected first by the CSMP, but after a European committee of experts considered Ana Carla Almeida as the best candidate for the post.

The government has since – still under former Justice Minister Francisca Van Dunem – been at the center of a controversy, mainly for having transmitted erroneous data in a note to the Council of the European Union attached to José Guerra’s resume, even though the structure has corroborated the Portuguese executive’s position that the “lapses” regarding the nomination proposal of the magistrate as European Public Prosecutor did not interfere with the decision of his nomination.

Who are the judge candidates?

Law Judge Carlos Manuel Lopes Alexandre, placed at the Central Court of Criminal Instruction for about 19 years. Graduated for promotion as Judge Magistrate in September 2023.

Judge Filipe César Vilarinho Marques, currently on judicial service commission at the Court of Auditors (since July 15, 2021).

Associate Justice Vítor Manuel Leitão Ribeiro at the Lisbon Court of Appeal, currently on service commission as Inspector of the Superior Council of the Judiciary (since May 2015).

Judge Catarina Isabel Vasco Pires, currently assigned to the Central Criminal Court of Sintra (since September 2022).

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