Have we mentioned this before ? The big growth area of EU law is criminal law.
Recently, the Council has adopted a number of significant measures in the field of criminal law. Here's a brief overview of them so that you get a taste of what is happening in that area.
The Council adopted its Framework Decision 2008/841/JHA of October 24th 2008 on the fight against organized crime to set out a common definition of what is organized crime. It also requires that member States punish organized crime.
It also adopted a Framework Decision - Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA of November 28th 2008 - on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law. It renders criminal intentional public acts designed to incite violence or hatred, or trivializing genocide and similar atrocities. Such acts will be punishable in all member States by a term of imprisonment of no more than 1 to 3 years.
Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA on combating terrorism has been modified by Council Framework Decision 2008/919/JHA of November 28th 2008. The consequence is the introduction of three new offences in EU legislation:
– public provocation to commit a terrorist offence;
– recruitment for terrorism; and
– training for terrorism.
At long last, Council Framework Decision 2008/977/JHA of November 27th 2008 on the protection of personal data processed in the framework of police and judicial coöperation in criminal matters has been adopted. This framework decision lays down rules on the exchange of personal data to enhance mutual trust between the competent authorities. The information exchanged will be protected to prevent obstruction to Member States' cooperation, while respecting the fundamental rights of individuals, in particular their right to privacy and to the protection of their personal data. The Framework Decision sets common standards on the confidentiality and security of the processing, on liability and on the obligation to lay down penalties for unlawful use. It defines the right of access to data, the right to rectification, erasure or blocking, the right to compensation and the right to seek judicial remedies. It allows member States to provide stricter safeguards for protecting personal data than those established in the framework decision.
Council Framework Decision 2008/978/JHA of December 18th 2008 on the European evidence warrant for the purpose of obtaining objects, documents and data for use in proceedings in criminal matters sets up a system by which member States can secure the transmission of existing evidence (objects, documents, data) from another member State within a short time frame.
Two important pieces of legislation have been adopted on mutual recognition.
The first is Council Framework Decision 2008/909/JHA of November 27th 2008 on the application of the principle of mutual recognition to judgments in criminal matters imposing custodial sentences or measures involving deprivation of liberty for the purpose of their enforcement in the European Union. This measure will enable sentenced persons to be transferred to another member State for enforcement of their sentences, partly with a view to their social rehabilitation.
The second is Council Framework Decision 2008/947/JHA of November 27th 2008 on the application of the principle of mutual recognition to judgments and probation decisions with a view to the supervision of probation measures and alternative sanctions. The purpose of this measure is to facilitate the social rehabilitation of sentenced persons, and to encourage the application of suitable probation measures and alternative sanctions in the case of offenders who do not live in the State of conviction. The Decision sets rules under which a member State, other than the member State in which the person concerned has been sentenced, recognizes judgments and, where applicable, probation decisions and other alternative sanctions and supervises same, taking any necessary relevant decisions.
That's enough crime for now, folks.