Wednesday 26 January 2011

New Portuguese Judge at the Court

Yesterday, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) elected a new judge for the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Portugal: Mr Paulo Sérgio Pinto de Albuquerque. His term of office will start after 5 Febuary 2011 and will last nine years. He will succeed Ireneu Cabral Barreto, who has been a judge at the Corut for over twelve years, ever since the creation of the new fulltime Court in 1998 and who had been, before that time, member of the European Commission of Human Rights since 1993.

Pinto de Albuquerque was elected from a list of three candidates, which was put together after an open national procedure:

A nationwide call for candidatures, accompanied by the rules governing the selection procedure, by publishing advertisements in three national newspapers (Público and Diário de Notícias on 20 November and Expresso on 21 November), placing an official announcement in the Official Gazette (Notice No. 21101-A/2009, published in Official Gazette No. 226, Series II, 1st Supplement of 20 November 2009, Part C), and including a news item on the website “Portal da Justiça”, and by further circulating these notices to the Higher Council of the Judiciary and the General Council of the Bar Association.

The Justice Minister set up an independent commission with four members appointed by the Higher Council of the Judiciary, the Higher Council of the Administrative and Fiscal Courts, the Procuradoria-Geral da República (Public Prosecutor's Office) and the General Council of the Portuguese Bar Association. This commission was mandated to consider the admissibility of the candidatures using the CV assessment method. The commission played an advisory role in the process of selecting the three candidates to be nominated to the Council of Europe.

31 candidatures were received (13 women and 18 men with a range of professional competences).

Among these candidates, the independent commission selected the three individuals which it considered best fulfilled the preconditions of Article 21 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Government accepted the whole selection proposed by the independent commission.

The list of candidates is as follows (in alphabetical order):

- Mr João Manuel da Silva Miguel

- Ms Maria Eduarda Almeida Azevedo

- Mr Paulo Sérgio Pinto de Albuquerque.
Pinto de Albuquerque has been a judge and a lawyer at the national level, a board member of Amnesty International Portugal, and associate professor at the Catholic University of Lisbon. He thus has experience both on a theoretical and a practical level. He also was an expert with the Council of Europe's GRECO (Group of States against Corruption) and had been on the list of three nominees for ECtHR judges also in 2004.