BUREAU OF THE CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL
OF EUROPEAN PROSECUTORS
Report of the 15th meeting
Rome (Italy), 5 July 2011
prepared by the Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs
1. The Bureau of the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors (CCPE-BU) held its 15th meeting in Rome (Italy) on 5 July 2011 with Mr João Manuel da SILVA MIGUEL (Portugal) in the chair.
2. The following members of the Bureau also attended:
- Mr Antonio MURA (Italy), Vice-Chair of the CCPE,
- Mr Cédric VISART DE BOCARME (Belgium),
- Ms Raja TOIVIAINEN (Finland).
3. The agenda is appended.
II. COMMUNICATION BY THE CHAIRPERSON, MEMBERS OF THE BUREAU AND THE SECRETARIAT
4. The Bureau warmly thanked the Italian High Council of the Judiciary (CSM) for its invitation to hold its meeting in Roma and for the excellent reception which they had enjoyed. It also thanked the Italian CSM for its outstanding organisation of the celebrations for the 10th anniversary of Recommendation Rec(2000)19 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on the role of public prosecution in the criminal justice system, which had been held in Rome on 4 and 5 July 2011 in the presence of a large number of representatives of the Italian judicial system (see also Part IV of this report).
5. Mr Cédric VISART DE BOCARME informed the Bureau that a meeting of the Consultative Forum of Prosecutors General and Directors of Prosecutions had been held in The Hague (Netherlands) on 23 June 2011. This informal forum, which was supported by the European Commission, was geared to expressing the views of public prosecutors from EU countries.
6. Mr Antonio MURA also mentioned the annual meeting of the Network of Public Prosecutors or Equivalent Institutions at Supreme Judicial Courts of the Member States of the European Union, held in Rome (Italy) from 26 to 28 May 2011. The Bureau instructed the Secretariat to officially request the conclusions of the meeting with a view to forwarding them to CCPE members.
7. The Secretariat pointed out that the Secretary General of the Council of Europe had been invited to the 4th World Summit of Prosecutors General, Attorneys General and Chief Prosecutors, which had followed on from the 16th Annual Conference of the International Association of Prosecutors (Seoul, South Korea, 26-29 June 2011). A number of CCPE members had attended, including Mr Harald RANGE (Germany), who had agreed to speak on behalf of the Council of Europe and the CCPE in the Secretary General’s absence.
8. Broadly speaking, it would be useful for the CCPE to be informed of these many European and international initiatives, and also for these bodies to be kept abreast of the CCPE’s work. Various communication facilities were available for the purpose: official information by personal mail, information on the CCPE website, invitation from the Chairperson of the CCPE, and encouraging CCPE members to circulate the information in their States or within the bodies of which they were members.
9. For instance, since some EU non-Member States would like to participate in the Consultative Forum of Prosecutors General and Directors of Prosecutions and in view of the CCPE’s keen interest in all aspects of prosecutors’ duties in Europe, it would be useful for the CCPE to be invited to the meetings of the Forum. The Bureau therefore instructed the Secretariat to prepare a letter to be signed by the CCPE Chair proposing an exchange of experience or some other kind of co-operation with this Forum (whose next meeting would be held under the Polish Presidency of the EU). It would also be useful to suggest that CCPE members from EU Member States attend this Forum.
III. PREPARATION OF OPINION No. 6
10. The Bureau examined draft Opinion No. 6 on relations between prosecutors and prison administrations (document CCPE-GT(2011)3REV5), which comprised contributions from Working Group members prepared on the basis of the detailed structure (document CCPE-GT52011)REV3) which the CCPE-GT had adopted at its 8th meeting (Strasbourg 17 and 18 March 2011).
11. The Bureau welcomed the quality of the text at this stage, and thanked the various contributors who had helped produce a preliminary draft so early on in the work schedule.
12. It nevertheless considered that the text was too long and that it should concentrate on the prosecutor’s role in the aspects covered by Recommendation Rec(2006)2 on the European Prison Rules, in accordance with the terms of reference assigned by the Committee of Ministers. The Bureau also stressed the need to take account of States in which the public prosecutor had little or no role to play in relations with the prison administration.
13. The CCPE-BU therefore proposed:
- reducing the section on the philosophy of the Opinion (Part I.1);
- transferring the section describing the different legal systems and the various competences of prosecutors in prison matters (Part II) to an appendix, since this descriptive passage derived from the analysis of the replies to the questionnaire;
- proposing a new structure for the section on the resocialisation of criminals (Part III, C, 2);
- amending and abridging the section on prison administration (Part III E);
- in conclusion, adopting a neutral stance on the existence or non-existence of relations between prosecutors and the prison administration and refraining from particularly encouraging such relations, in order to take account of all the different European legal systems.
14. The Bureau decided to propose a new version of the draft Opinion to the CCPE-GT taking account of some of the above-mentioned comments (Document CCPE-GT(2011)3REV6).
IV. 10th ANNIVERSARY OF RECOMMENDATION REC(2000)19
15. In the wake of the discussions at the meeting organised by the Italian CSM on 4 and 5 July on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Rec(2000)19, the Bureau highlighted the following facts:
- the role played by prosecutors in the criminal law field and in penal policy was a very sensitive matter in some European States;
- Recommendation Rec(2000) 19 was a very important text for all member States, and in fact CCPE members were often invited to speak at conferences on the content of the Recommendation;
- certain principles set out in the Recommendation were sufficiently important to form the starting point for other major texts (see eg ECHR case-law);
- some of the principles of the Recommendation were no longer sufficient (see the Report on European Standards as regards the Independence of the Judicial System, Part II – The Prosecution Service, adopted by the Venice Commission in December 2010 (Study No. 484/2008);
- some aspects relating to prosecutors had only become important after the adoption of the Recommendation and had therefore been omitted from it.
16. Following the example of the updating of Recommendation Rec(94)12 on the independence, efficiency and role of judges under Recommendation Rec(2010)12 on judges: independence, efficiency and responsibilities, to which the CCJE had contributed, the Bureau considered that discussion might be launched on possible updating of Rec(2000)19. The CCPE might, if appropriate, be closely associated with this work because its terms of reference included “initiat(ing) a reflection on the expediency of proposing to relevant committees of the Council of Europe an updating of this Recommendation”. The Bureau instructed the Secretariat to include this item on the agenda of the subsequent plenary meeting of the CCPE.
V. CO-OPERATION WITH OTHER COUNCIL OF EUROPE BODIES
European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ) – Draft Recommendation on the role of public prosecutors outside the criminal field
17. The Group of Specialists on the Role of Public Prosecutors outside the Criminal Field (CJ-S-PR), which had been mandated by the CDCJ to prepare a draft recommendation on this subject, had held its 2nd meeting from 22 to 24 June 2011. Mr João MIGUEL, Chair of the CCPE, had been appointed consultant with the CJ-S-PR and had prepared a preliminary draft Recommendation. This text had been considered by the CJ-S-PR and submitted to the Bureau of the CDCJ for examination at its meeting on 6 and 7 July 2011.
18. Mr João MIGUEL explained that he had been instructed to prepare a new draft Recommendation for the beginning of September taking account of all the comments, as well as a draft explanatory memorandum. The CCPE would be invited to comment on the text. The CJ-S-PR would be meeting from 15 to 18 November 2011 to finalise the draft, which should be subsequently submitted to the CDCJ for adoption, in 2012.
19. The Bureau decided to prepare comments on receipt of the draft Recommendation, under written procedure. A CCPE representative might usefully attend the CJ-S-PR’s future meetings.
VI. OTHER BUSINESS
Terms of reference of the CCPE for 2012
20. The Secretariat recalled that the CCPE was to adopt draft terms of reference for 2012 at its next plenary meeting. The Bureau suggested that in 2012 the CCPE should prepare an Opinion on relations between public prosecutors and the media. In the near future, in addition to a possible contribution to updating Rec(2000)19, the CCPE might also address the matter of training for public prosecutors or resource management for Public Prosecutor's Offices.
21. The Bureau noted that although some of these subjects had already been dealt with in CCJE Opinions concerning judges, they were still highly relevant vis-à-vis prosecutors, in view of the specific situation of the Public Prosecutor's Office. This work might also usefully complement that of the CEPEJ.
Next meeting of the Bureau of the CCPE
22. The Bureau decided to hold a meeting on the afternoon of 23 November, just before the next plenary meeting of the CCPE, to be held in Strasbourg on 24 and 25 November 2011.
1. Opening of the meeting
2. Adoption of the agenda
3. Communication by the Chairperson, members of the Bureau and the Secretariat
4. Preparation of Opinion No. 6
5. Other CCPE work
6. Other business