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Towards an Integrated European Criminal Law

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 October 2017


The creation of an economically integrated Europe, based on free circulation across open borders, has probably facilitated an increase in transnational crime. One response to this phenomenon has been to try to create an integrated European criminal law. But legal integration will not magically solve all the problems related to transnational crime. Indeed, it may create problems of its own. By favouring efficiency (that is, repression) over legitimacy (the protection of fundamental rights), it favours a criminal justice policy oriented towards ‘security’. By imposing the same rules throughout Europe, it disturbs the internal consistency of national legal systems. Nevertheless, the phenomenon of legal integration, facilitated by new legal instruments such as framework decisions, continues to develop. We might therefore ask ourselves, as an introduction, why this is so.

Research Article
Copyright © Centre for European Legal Studies, Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge 2005

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1 Kagan, R, Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order(New York, Vintage Books, 2003) 10–11Google Scholar.

2 Ibid at 27.

3 Ibid.

4 Calleo, D, Rethinking Europe’s Future (Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 2001) 283 Google Scholar; see also Rifkin, J, The European Dream: How Europe’s Vision of the Future is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream (Cambridge, Polity Press, 2004)Google Scholar; also ‘L’avenir du rêve européen’, Libération (7 June 2005) 35.

5 M Tonry, ‘Politicas penales y practica en sistemas federales’, intervention at the international conference Reforma penale en Mexico, sistemas penales soberanos e integracion en la perspectiva del derecho comparado (1 October 2004) (copy on file with author).

6 See Delmas-Marty, M, ‘Global Crime Calls for Global Justice’ (2002) 10 European Journal of Crime, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice 286 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; see also Delmas-Marty, MDes crimes globalisés’ in Delmas-Marty, M, Les forces imaginantes du droit–Le relatif et l’universel (Paris, Seuil, 2004) 241–308 Google Scholar.

7 See Bernardi, A, ‘Europe sans frontières et droit pénal’ [2002] Revue de Science Criminelle 1 and ‘Opportunité de l’harmonisation’ in Delmas-Marty, M, Giudicelli-Delage, G and Lambert, E (eds), L’harmonisation des sanctions pénales (Paris, Société de Législation Comparée, 2003) 451 Google Scholar.

8 See the OLAF Supervisory Committee’s annual reports in the Official Journal of the European Union.

9 See Delmas-Marty, M, ‘Comparative Law and the Internationalisation of Law in Europe’ in Hoecke, M Van (ed), Epistemology and Methodology of Comparative Law (Oxford, Hart, 2004)Google Scholar; cf. D Calleo, Rethinking Europe’s Future, above n 4.

10 Art 2-2 provides for extradition ‘without verification of the double criminality of the act’ for participation in a criminal organisation; terrorism; trafficking in human beings; sexual exploitation of children and child pornography; illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances; illicit trafficking in weapons, munitions and explosives; corruption; fraud, including that affecting the financial interests of the European Communities within the meaning of the Convention of 26 July 1995 on the protection of the European Communities’ financial interests; laundering of the proceeds of crime; counterfeiting currency, including of the euro; computer-related crime; environmental crime, including illicit trafficking in endangered animal species and in endangered plant species and varieties; facilitation of unauthorised entry and residence; murder, grievous bodily injury; illicit trade in human organs and tissue; kidnapping, illegal restraint and hostage-taking; racism and xenophobia; organised or armed robbery; illicit trafficking in cultural goods, including antiques and works of art; swindling; racketeering and extortion; counterfeiting and piracy of products; forgery of administrative documents and trafficking therein; forgery of means of payment; illicit trafficking in nuclear or radioactive materials; trafficking in stolen vehicles; rape; arson; crimes within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court; unlawful seizure of aircraft/ships; and sabotage.

11 Harmonised definitions of corruption are found in the 1997 European Union and OECD Conventions; for terrorism, see the 2002 EU Framework Decision on combating terrorism; for environmental crime, see the 2003 Framework Decision on the protection of the environment through criminal law; for sexual exploitation of children, see the 2003 Framework Decision on combating the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography; for trafficking in nar cotics, see the 2004 Framework Decision laying down minimum provisions on the constituent elements of criminal acts and penalties in the field of illicit drug trafficking.

12 See Cassese, A, Gaeta, P, and Jones, JRWD (eds), The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court: A Commentary (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

13 Crim, 8 July 2004 [2004] JCP (Juris-Classeur Périodique) act. 395; cf. Crim, 1 Sept 2004 [2004] JCP act. 467; J Pradel, ‘Le mandat d’arrêt européen, premier pas vers une révolution copernicienne dans le droit français de l’extradition’ [2004] Dalloz Chr. 1392 and 1462; L de Gentili-Picard, ‘La mise en oeuvre du mandat d’arrêt européen en France’ [2004] JCP I–168; D Vandermeerch, ‘Le Mandat Arrêt Européen et la protection des droits de l’homme’ [2005] Revue de droit pénal comparé 219.

14 See S Manacorda, ‘Espace de liberté, sécurité et justice’ [2004] Revue de Science Criminelle 969.

15 Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on the European Evidence Warrant for obtaining objects, documents and data for use in proceedings in criminal matters, COM(2003)688 final 2003/0270 (CNS) (11 Nov 2003).

16 G Giudicelli-Delage, ‘Remarques conclusives’ [2005] Revue de Science Criminelle 15.

17 See Delmas-Marty, M and Izorches, M-L, ‘Marge nationale d’appréciation et internationalisation du droit’ [2000] Revue internationale de droit comparé 753 and (2001) 46 McGill Law Journal 5 Google Scholar.

18 Case 68/88 Commission v Greece [1989] ECR I–2965.

19 L’harmonisation des sanctions pénales, above n 7; see also the European Commission, Green Paper of 30 Apr 2004 on the approximation, mutual recognition and enforcement of criminal sanctions in the European Union, COM (2004) 334 final.

20 See, in particular, Council of Europe Recommendation R(92)17 Concerning Consistency in Sentencing (1992) at (last visited 21 June 2005) and Council of Europe Recommendation R(92)16 on the European rules on Community sanctions and measures (1992) at (last visited 21 June 2005).

21 On the execution of sentencing decisions, see, in particular, Vernimmen, G, ‘A propos de la reconnaissance mutuelle des décisions sentencielles en général’ in Kerchove, G de and Weyembergh, A (eds), La reconnaissance mutuelle des décisions judiciaires pénale dans l’UE (Brussels, Université de Bruxelles, 2002)Google Scholar.

22 Delmas-Marty, M, ‘Préface’ in Delmas-Marty, M, Le flou du droit, Du code pénal aux droits de l’homme (2nd edn, Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 2004)Google Scholar.

23 Delmas-Marty, M (ed), Corpus Juris: Introducing Penal Provisions for the Protection of the Financial Interests of the European Union (Paris, Economica, 1997)Google Scholar; Delmas-Marty, M and Vervaele, J (eds), The Implementation of the Corpus juris in the Member States (Antwerp, Intersentia, 2000 and 2002), I–IV Google Scholar.

24 See Spencer, J and Delmas-Marty, M (eds), European Criminal Procedures (2nd edn, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2005)Google Scholar.

25 D Charvet, ‘Réflexions autour du plaider coupable’ [2004] Dalloz, Chr. 2517.

26 See Spencer, J, ‘Introduction’ in European Criminal Procedures, above n 24 at 1–75 Google Scholar.

27 Corpus juris, above n 23.

28 The Implementation of the Corpus Juris, above n 23, i, at 142–85.

29 Select Committee on the European Communities, Prosecuting fraud on the Communities finances, the Corpus juris (9th Report, Session 1998–1999, House of Lords Paper 62).

30 The Implementation of the Corpus Juris, above n 23.

31 See A and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department, House of Lords (16 December 2004) in which the Lords of Appeal held a portion of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 to be incompatible with Arts 5 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

32 Damaska, M, ‘Negotiated Justice in International Criminal Courts’ (2004) 2 Journal of International Criminal Justice 1018 CrossRefGoogle Scholar at 1019.

33 Delmas-Marty, M, Towards a Truly Common Law: Europe as a laboratory for Legal Pluralism (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2002)Google Scholar.

34 Pupino, ECJ, 16 June 2005, C-105/03, regarding the framework decision of march 2001 on the status of victims, requires adaption of Italian criminal procedure to European imperatives and thus runs the risk of granting framework decisions the direct effect reserved by the treaties to derivative law (regulations and directives). This may weaken the rights of the accused.

35 Commision v Council, C176-03, ECJ, 13 Sept. 2005, para. 48. For a discussion of the framework decision on environmental criminal law, see G. Giudicelli-Delage, “Les figures de I’internationalisation pénale”, Revue de Science Criminelle 2005, n°3

36 S. Manacorda, “Judical activism dans le cadre de l’escape de liberté, de justice et de sécurité de l’Union européenne”, to be published, RSC 2005, n°4 (in addition to the ECJ decision cited above), the auther comments on three decisions: that of theh Constitutional Court of Poland (27 March 2005) declaring the text contrary to the Constitution but suspending the decision’s application; of the Belgian Court of Arbitration (13 July 2005), which petitioned the ECJ for a preliminary reference; and of the Bundesverfassungsgericht (18 July 2005), which finds unconstitutional and abrogates the German law on the European arrest warrant.)

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