Promoting Judicial cooperation to balance crime prevention and fundamental rights José Santos December 17, 2021

Promoting Judicial cooperation to balance crime prevention and fundamental rights

PRE-RIGHTS project partners are committed to achieving a coherent application of the EU mutual recognition instruments in criminal matters through investigation and peer discussion.

The protection of Fundamental Rights in terror-related judicial processes is part of the PRE-RIGHTS project core. Project partners organised “Judicial Living Labs” in Portugal, Greece, Italy, Malta, and Romania to discuss these subjects directly with relevant professionals. The events gathered close to 80 participants from diverse backgrounds: judges, lawyers, prosecutors, academics, researchers, prison staff, law enforcement agents and other relevant criminal justice actors.

These discussion and training events aimed to promote dialogue on the pre-trial rights of persons involved in or accused of crimes linked to terrorism. The practitioners and researchers analysed case studies related to the subject and discussed them considering their country laws and procedures. This dialogue resulted in awareness and knowledge consolidation on applying these measures across Europe.

IPS organised the Portuguese Judicial Living Lab on November 19th 2021, with the theme “Prevention in Prisons: pre-trial and alternative measures framed with security”. It addressed three case studies focused on different facets of the problem: the impact of preventive measures on the fundamental rights of prisoners and the objectives of the prison system; the impact of preventive measures on the individuals’ fundamental rights and the risk of arbitrariness of the measures applied; and Judicial Cooperation in prevention and the possible use of tools such as the European Investigation Order for preventive purpose.

PRE-RIGHTS is also undergoing the analysis and evaluation of existing models of adaptation of supra-national legislation into the national legal framework and practices, and contrasting them with specific cases emerging from closed investigations or Case Law. The report on “Prevention Practices the Pre- and Post-Trial: Preventive Measures in the Context of Counter-Radicalisation”, which partners are finalising, is one of these analyses. It focuses on the processes of identification and surveillance of suspected radicalised individuals or terrorism suspects and addresses the risk of returning foreign fighters, terrorist supporters, and terrorist recruiters.

What are PRE-RIGHTS’ next steps?

In the beginning of 2022, the consortium will provide practitioners and professionals access to relevant resources in the field of counter-radicalisation and judicial and police cooperation. The chosen support for these resources is Hermes, an online platform from partner AGENFOR. The PRE-RIGHTS rounds of national training initiatives are planned to be finalised by the first week of February 2022.

The partners are also developing a practical manual on preventive measures in Europe and beyond with promising practises and guidance for judicial practitioners. It will provide an overview of recommended preventive measures; the Italian legal system of Praeter Delictum preventive measures; and preventive measures outside the EU, namely in Moldova, Serbia, and Montenegro.

These project achievements and the discussion of its ongoing needs were on the table at the IPS hosted event on December 17th, 2021. The consortium met online to discuss the project progress, especially issues related to research, initiatives engaging practitioners and experts and project dissemination.

PRE-RIGHTS project’s goal is to achieve better coordination between Member States, EU institutions and agencies, the Council of Europe, and the UN in promoting judicial cooperation concerning the legal prevention of crime in the framework of Fundamental Rights.

More concretely, its goal is to work towards a more efficient and coherent application of the EU mutual recognition instruments in criminal matters. It relates to regulations such as EU Directive 2014/41/EU on the European Investigation Order – EIO and Council Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA on the European Arrest Warrant – EAW.

PRE-RIGHTS project is funded by the European Commission: Directorate-General Justice and Consumers (DG Justice Programme). The promoter is the Ministry of Justice of Italy, and project partners include IPS_Innovative Prison Systems (Portugal), the Center for the Study of Democracy (Bulgaria), Agenfor International (Italy), the University of Malta (Malta), the Bremen Senate of Justice and Constitution (Germany), the National Intelligence Academy Mihai Viteazul (ANIMV – Academia Nationala De Informatii) (Romania), and KEMEA – Centre for Security Studies (Greece).

For more information on the project, please visit its website.