BRASÍLIA – The new Minister of Justice and Public Security, Ricardo Lewandowski, will take charge of the portfolio this Thursday, the 1st. The retired minister of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) will inherit from the former head of Justice, Flavio Dinoa series of challenges, the most cited by experts being the fight against organized crime and the “institutional seam” between the bodies covered by the ministry.
Lewandowski’s inauguration will take place at 11 am this Thursday at Palácio do Planalto. The new minister replaces Dino, who will occupy the vacancy left by Rosa Weber in the STF on the 22nd.
Lewandowski and the first names announced to join his team have a more legal and less political profile. The choice of names can alleviate friction between the department and parliamentarians who oppose the president’s government Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT). Over the past year, Dino’s administration was marked by clashes in hearings in the National Congress and on social media.
The PT will continue to have influence in the department. As shown by Estadão Column This Wednesday, 31st, Lewandowski accepted Lula’s request and will appoint the lawyer Jean Uema to command the National Secretariat of Justice. The position is responsible for screening nominations to the Judiciary, which subsequently reach the chief executive’s desk.
Public safety is Lewandowski’s main challenge
Lewandowski, who was also appointed by Lula to join the STF in 2006, is the president’s bet to face problems that the PT and Justice, under Dino’s command, were unable to resolve. In September, a survey by the Atlas Institute showed that the area of public security was the worst rated among voters.
In his first statement after being appointed by Lula to the position, on the 23rd, Lewandowski promised that the insecurity experienced by Brazilians will be the main focus of his administration. Lewandowski also stated that he will continue the work done by Dino.
“We have the challenge, which is a concern of the common citizen today, with security. Insecurity, crime, organized crime, which affect not only the wealthier classes, also affect the simplest citizen, the common citizen, the worker “, stated the new Minister of Justice.
Although security is primarily the responsibility of the States, experts defended the development of coordination and investments by the Union to solve the problem. Dino was even fried by PT members due to the lack of a more robust project in the sector.
After a public security crisis in Bahia, where police operations left more than 60 dead in September alone, Dino launched an anti-crime plan with an investment of R$900 million to combat criminal organizations. During the launch of the initiative, the then Minister of Justice defended himself from the criticism, calling it “unfair political attacks”.
The lawyer Marco Aurélio de Carvalhocoordinator of the Prerogativas group and who was considered Dino’s successor, assessed that Lewandowski will play an important role in a process of resuming the “institutional dialogue” necessary to face the public security crisis.
“The main problem is public security. Governments on the left and right have failed. Lewandowski is sensitive to this. I see the minister very concerned with the liturgy of institutionality”, said Carvalho to Estadão.
Lewandowski will have to ‘seam’ with police
Another obstacle that will have to be faced by the new head of Justice is the relationship with the Brazilian police. The president of the Brazilian Public Security Forum (FBSP), Renato Sérgio de Limanoted that Lewandowski adds “political and legal seniority” to the Lula government.
According to the expert, the new minister is capable of carrying out the institutional “stitching” that is necessary for the reformulation of the security system. Lima mentioned that one of the topics that requires in-depth articulation is the implementation of the figure of the judge of guarantees, a type of supervisor of criminal investigations.
“The judge of guarantees will have to help the judicial police to improve their work, but the functions of the delegates are well defined. If the minister does not combine the adoption of the judge of guarantees with ordinances, technical notes, decrees, there will be noise” , he said. “It’s work that can be transformative for public security. But the Executive will need to be very coordinated with the Judiciary so as not to cause a headache, just as it was with the custody hearing”, added the president of the FBSP.
New minister placed names linked to the Judiciary in positions held by politicians
Lula chose Lewandowski because of his profile as a figure with a role in the Judiciary. When he assumed the presidency of the National Council of Justice (CNJ), Lewandowski marked his administration by implementing changes that impacted the system as a whole, such as the mechanism for custody hearings.
In recent weeks, the main names of the team that Lewandowski will have at the Ministry of Justice were defined. The Executive Secretariat of the department and the Public Security Secretariat, which were occupied by Tadeu Alencar It is Ricardo Cappelli – affiliated with the PSB – will be occupied by names linked to the Judiciary.
Cappelli’s successor will be lawyer Manoel Carlos de Almeida Neto, while the new Secretary of Public Security will be the head of the São Paulo Public Ministry (MPSP), Mário Sarrubbo.
According to experts interviewed by the Estadão, the choices present a message of commitment to combating organized crime and less politicization of the department. At the same time, Lewandowski’s team will have the challenge of mitigating the Lula government’s poor security rating to help the PT perform well in October’s municipal elections.
Presiding over the CNJ, Lewandowki faced problems experienced in penitentiaries
Another topic that should be a priority during Lewandowksi’s time in court is tackling the problems that affect Brazilian penitentiaries.
In 2016, when he presided over the CNJ, Lewandoswki launched a project that sought judges and the Brazilian society of prisoners to “humanize” the justice system. The initiative, among other proposals, sought and recognized prisoners’ rights for regime progression and also offered a structure that could support inmates recently released from prison.