The Belgian EU presidency and European Parliament reached political agreement Wednesday on a proposed EU law related to the transfer of proceedings in criminal matters. With the expansion of cross-border crime, criminal justice in the EU has increasingly been confronted with situations where several member states have jurisdiction to prosecute the same case. This is particularly true for crimes committed by organised criminal groups.

The new set of measures enables the transfer of criminal proceedings to the Member State best-placed to prosecute. The new Regulation will therefore help prevent inefficient duplication of proceedings and avoid cases of impunity where surrender under a European arrest warrant is refused.

The rules encompass common criteria for requesting a transfer, a time limit for the decision on the transfer, an exhaustive list of grounds for refusing a transfer request, as well as obligations with respect to the rights of suspects, accused persons and victims, including their right to an effective legal remedy against the decision accepting a transfer. “Effective crime-fighting also means that countries within the EU cooperate in order for the criminal investigation to happen in the country that is best placed to serve justice,” said Belgian justice minister Paul Van Tigchelt, for the EU presidency.

The Regulation will replace a fragmented landscape of various legal instruments for transfers of criminal proceedings with a unified legal framework across the EU. More information on transfer of criminal proceedings in the EU can be found here.

The provisional agreement will now be submitted to Member States’ representatives within the Council (Coreper) and to the Parliament’s justice committee for endorsement. If approved and following revision by lawyer-linguists, the text will then need to be formally adopted by both institutions, before it can be published in the EU’s Official Journal and enter into force. The regulation will start to apply two years after its entry into force.

Source: EUbusiness

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