Alert: Agreement between the European Council and the European Parliament: Criminal investigations and cross-border crime

The Council and the EP reach agreement on transfer of proceedings law that will help fight cross-border crime more effectively.

The recent agreement between the Belgian Presidency and the European Parliament on proposed EU legislation on the transfer of proceedings in criminal matters marks a significant step forward in the European Union’s approach to cross-border crime. This legislation introduces a structured framework laying down essential rules for the seamless transfer of criminal proceedings between EU Member States, with the overall aim of ensuring that priority is given to the country best equipped to carry out a thorough investigation or prosecution.

Key elements of the agreed rules are:

1. Criteria for Transferring Proceedings:

   – The legislation sets out specific criteria for deciding when and under what circumstances criminal proceedings can be transferred. Factors such as the location of the offence, the nationality or presence of suspects, and the location of key evidence and witnesses form the basis for these decisions.

2. Time Limits and Decision-Making Process:

   – The law imposes a 60-day deadline for the country receiving a transfer request to make a decision on acceptance or refusal. In exceptional cases, this period may be extended by a further 30 days. This structured approach ensures a timely and efficient process for handling transfer requests.

3. Rights of Suspects, Accused Persons, and Victims:

   – Recognising the importance of respecting fundamental rights, the legislation ensures that suspects, accused persons and victims are informed of the intention to transfer proceedings. They are also given the opportunity to express their views on the proposed transfer, thereby promoting transparency and fairness throughout the judicial process.

4. Effective Legal Remedy:

   – A key aspect of the agreement is the establishment of a right to an effective remedy for suspects, defendants and victims against decisions relating to the transfer of criminal proceedings. A concise timeframe of 15 days is set for the initiation of remedies, ensuring a prompt and accessible avenue for addressing any concerns.



More information:

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