Latvijas Radio: head prosecutor Juriss eyed for SAB director’s position; certain parties protest

One of the potential candidates eyed by Latvia’s President Egils Levits for the position of director of the Constitutional Protection Bureau (SAB) is Head Prosecutor of the Criminal Justice Department Juris Juriss. However, among political parties there is no unity about his fitness for the post, as reported by Latvijas Radio.
In a conversation with Latvijas Radio, Juriss neither confirmed nor denied having been asked to consider becoming director of SAB. «Currently I can neither confirm nor deny if I am a candidate considered for this post,» said Juriss. According to information from Latvijas Radio, Juriss has told the president he is prepared to take this post if need be.
Representatives of different parties have voiced objections to Juriss as a candidate. Objections are generally based on the belief that Juriss is considered a New Conservative Party man. Although this is nothing more than speculation, the post of the prosecutor in Latvia is incompatible with membership in a political party. Among the objections were also mentions of the criminal case involving Aivars Lembergs.
It was the contribution of prosecutor Juris that was decisive in the successful prosecution of Aivars Lembergs.
It is worth mentioning here that Lembergs is a person who has historically made efforts to influence the political process, deciding who is put in leading posts.
Unofficial information indicates that not only the Union of Greens and Farmers but also the Saeima speaker, National Alliance member Ināra Mūrniece that are against Juriss’ approval as director of SAB. He does, however, categorically denies that the prosecutor’s work in Lembergs’ criminal case should be viewed from this perspective. «The National Security Council has not mentioned such an argument in discussions. I would like to disprove this claim entirely,» said Mūrniece.
She also stresses that she had previously clearly presented her opinion on the topic regarding support of ex-prosecutor general Jānis Maizītis. Previously his candidacy was dropped in the vote in the Saeima. As the oligarch talks recorded by law enforcers indicate, Lembergs apparently showed some force and «slapped the prosecutor general in the throat». «My position was that Jānis Maizītis is an honest man and he has done a lot… Even in regards to the criminal case you mentioned,» explained Mūrniece.
Minister of Defence Artis Pabriks is also tight-lipped about Juriss’ candidacy. He told the radio: «I cannot comment any of the mentioned names… Or anything mentioned in rumours.»
Latvijas Radio is aware Juriss has recently contributed to the investigation in some criminal procedure in which a politician from the political party Latvijas attīstība is involved. With that, Juriss’ candidacy, if it makes that far, would be a test for Attīstībai/Par! faction.
When preparing information for this story and interviewing members of the National Security Committee, Latvijas Radio got the impression there is no agreement in regards to the candidate for the position of the Constitutional Protection Bureau as well as where the candidate should come from.
However, everyone is aware of the situation and promise to pick a candidate as soon as possible.
The head of Saeima’s National Security Committee, Māris Kučinskis admits none of the previous potential candidates have made it far enough to be invited for an interview. «All candidates who have been mentioned so far – there are nothing more than interpretations. We haven’t interviewed anyone so far,» said Kučinskis.
As previously reported, President Egils Levits said the range of potential candidates for the post of director of SAB is very narrow. «First I need to speak with candidates and see if they agree to take o on this task. This is my task. Then the candidates will be evaluated by NDP,» Levits told journalists.
Certain potential candidates have declined the offer already, said the president.