International Association of Prosecutors

Global Forum for Associations of Prosecutors

May 2017


It is a great honour for me to be asked to address you at this 3rd Global Forum for Associations of Prosecutors as President of the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors (CCPE).

The conference theme, accountability and ethical standards in prosecution, is one which is directly relevant to the work of the CCPE.

The CCPE  is composed of high level prosecutors of all 47 member States of the Council of Europe and is tasked with preparing opinions for the Committee of Ministers on issues related to the prosecution service, promoting the implementation of Council of Europe Recommendation Rec(2000)19 and collecting information about the functioning of prosecution services throughout Europe.

Recommendation Rec(2000)19, on the Role of the Public Prosecution in the Criminal Justice System remains the benchmark for all Council of Europe member states, reflecting the many different legal systems in Europe, whether based on Civil or Common Law.

In 2014 this was updated when the CCPE adopted the Rome Charter, intended to serve as a further reference document on European Norms concerning Prosecutors.

The independence and autonomy of the prosecution service constitutes an indispensible corollary to the independence of the judiciary.

However, as can be seen from the 2015 Report of the Bureaux of the CCPE and Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE) there remain challenges to judicial impartiality and independence in some Council of Europe member states.

Prosecutors act on behalf of society and must act fairly, impartially and objectively. In order to promote public confidence, that independence, must be accompanied by a certain degree of accountability and high ethical standards.

Clear published guidelines and codes of professional ethics and conduct assist in promoting transparency, consistency and fairness.

Prosecutors should always adhere to the highest ethical and professional standards, always respecting the presumption of innocence, the right to a fair trial, the principle of equality of arms, separation of powers and binding force of final court decisions.

We should also always be aware that formal rules are not enough – they need to be implemented in practice.

I am sure that the discussion over the next two days will be very interesting and provide plenty of thought for how the balance between independence and accountability can be achieved.

Peter McCormick


Consultative Council of European Prosecutors (CCPE)