Judge Ivo Rosa withdraws application for European Prosecutor

  • Lusa
  • 19 April 2023

Ivo Rosa justified the withdrawal of his candidacy with the current exercise of functions as a judge at the International Criminal Court in the trial of Félicien Kabuga.

Judge Ivo Rosa has withdrawn his candidacy for the post of European Public Prosecutor, in a decision that came shortly before his hearing in Portugal’s parliament, leaving prosecutor José Ranito as the only candidate.

A source close to the case confirmed to Lusa that the judge’s decision – who is facing two disciplinary cases in the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) – was communicated this morning to the European Affairs Committee, where his hearing before the MPs was scheduled to start at 12:00.

Ivo Rosa justified the withdrawal of his candidacy with the current exercise of functions as a judge at the International Criminal Court in the trial of Félicien Kabuga, a businessman accused of genocide and crimes against humanity in Rwanda in 1994.

According to the judge, the trial will continue “beyond July this year and certainly into 2024”, and this would clash with a possible appointment as European Public Prosecutor.

“The trial in question, due to its complexity, the age of the accused and his health problems, will extend beyond the initially foreseeable deadline for its conclusion,” reads the magistrate’s email, to which Lusa had access, in which he added, “taking into account that the post of European Public Prosecutor will begin in July this year, the signatory if elected, would be prevented from starting these functions because he would have to continue to be part of the aforementioned trial.

In the communication sent to the European Affairs Committee, the judge recalled that he was still working in Portugal when the competition for European Public Prosecutor was opened by the SJC in October 2022 and that the nomination of his name by the judges’ management and discipline body occurred in December of that year, even before the appointment to the trial at the International Criminal Court in January 2023.

“The participation of the signatory in the International Court in question is done in the representation of the Portuguese state, given that it was a candidacy of Portugal before the United Nations,” said Ivo Rosa, concluding, “in order to avoid useless acts, the signatory states that he gives up the candidacy in progress and, for this reason, will not be present at the scheduled hearing.”

The competition has been mired in controversy between the government and the two bodies that nominate magistrates to be European Public Prosecutors – the SJC and the High Council of the Public Prosecutor’s Office (CSMP) – after they refused to accept the possibility opened up by an opinion of the Advisory Council of the Attorney General’s Office, which allowed these two bodies to issue invitations to magistrates to apply for the post.

Both higher councils refused to address invitations, with the SJC only limiting its insistence on seeking more candidates to an advertisement of the competition and an extension of the deadline for applications to succeed José Guerra at the Prosecutor’s Office.

José Guerra was appointed on 27 July 2020 as the national European Public Prosecutor at the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, an independent body with the power to investigate, prosecute and sustain charges against the perpetrators of criminal offences affecting the financial interests of the Union (e.g. fraud, corruption or cross-border VAT fraud exceeding €10 million).