Justice poised for change at top

The process to select successors for Greece’s top prosecutor and tens of other high-ranking judges who are to retire in a month has been gathering pace and sources told Kathimerini that some 30 judges have been ruled out for promotion. Supreme Court prosecutor Dimitris Linos is due to retire at the end of June as he is 67 years old – the age limit for anyone working in the judiciary. He will be joined in retirement by about 60 more high-ranking judges over the course of this summer. A ministerial council is responsible for selecting someone to succeed Linos and finding replacements for eight Supreme Court vice presidents who are also retiring. Meanwhile, a supreme judicial council will have the task of filling the other vacancies in what is regarded as a key moment in the course of the judiciary. Linos has overseen a number of high-profile investigations in recent months, including the probe into allegations that Pakistanis were kidnapped and questioned by Greek secret agents. Former deputy public order minister Christos Markoyiannakis resigned in January after being recorded calling Linos a «fool.» Sources said that deputy Supreme Court prosecutor Giorgos Sanidas is among the favorites to succeed Linos. Sanidas has been a central figure in the recent efforts of the Greek judiciary to rid itself of corruption. Justice Minister Anastassis Papaligouras wants the judges who step into the vacant positions to be promoted on merit, sources added. It is thought that some 30 appeals court presidents have already been turned down for promotion to positions in the Supreme Court as authorities near their final decisions. Sources did not reveal the reasons for their candidacies being rejected. After a meeting yesterday, Athens appeals prosecutors demanded that Linos’s successor be chosen from the Supreme Court deputy prosecutors and that an amendment be added to the constitution so that this format is always followed when the Supreme Court prosecutor retires.