Report conference ‘EU Criminal Justice Policy and Practice’, 26 – 27 June 2017

Konstantinos Zoumpoulakis,

Research Assistant at the Institute of Criminal Law & Criminology

The report was originally published on the webpage of the University of Leiden and is re-posted here with the approval of its author and conference organisers.

Leiden Law School had the honor to hold with great success the interdisciplinary conference on ‘EU Criminal Justice Policy and Practice – Reflections and Prospects’ that gathered renowned academics, young scholars and practitioners from all over Europe. During the two days of the Conference, which was organized by Jannemieke Ouwerkerk and Judit Altena, Leiden Law School was the forum of sparkling dialogues and fruitful discussions that covered a great variety of subjects in the field of European criminal justice policies.

The Conference was opened by our Dean Joanne van der Leun, who stressed out the need for a closer collaboration between criminal law and criminology in order to enhance the efficiency of criminal policies. Subsequently, stimulating contributions during the first plenary session addressed the topic of the legislating process in the field of EU criminal law. In particular, the invited speakers Dennis de Jong, Hans G. Nilsson and Thomas Elholm raised important issues that vary from the need for an inter-institutional agreement on the principles of European criminal legislation to the relation between European criminal legislation and increased repression as well as the prospects for decriminalization. The plenary session was followed by a Q&A round, where crucial thoughts and questions were addressed to the speakers.

The main part of the Conference was filled with a series of parallel panel sessions, where a broad spectrum of subjects was covered. Indeed, the discussions were ranging from the need for evidence-based law-making to criminalization principles and the limits to criminalization, the effectiveness of EU criminal law as well the European policy on sanctions. In particular, Valsamis Mitsilegas referred to the potential routes towards decriminalization, especially with regards to the effectiveness of EU criminal law, while Pim Geelhoed argued for a rather innovative cognitive approach on the criminalization of PIF offences. Respectively, an interesting view on the harmonization of legal interests was offered by Jeroen ten Voorde and Tineke Cleiren, while other stimulating contributions varied from  the legitimacy of European criminal law to the breaches of sales contracts as well as the issue of food fraud within the EU. Undoubtedly, the great variety of topics captured the entire discussion around EU criminal justice policies and provided the attendees with valuable input for further reflection. To this end, the interaction in panels between invited senior scholars  and early-career scholars, who were given the opportunity to present and support their ideas, led to vivid discussions.

The Conference was concluded by a second plenary session on the future of EU criminal justice policies, where two significant speeches from Nick Tilley and Nina Peršak were delivered. In particular, the former raised the need for a realistic approach for crime prevention purposes, while the latter argued for the philosophical underpinnings of EU criminal law as well as its prospects. Finally, on behalf of the organizers, Jannemieke Ouwerkerk thanked the participants for their intriguing contributions. In brief, it can be claimed with certainty that the Conference provided a great opportunity for significant contributions that will enrich the academic discussions on European criminal justice policies. Hopefully, it may equally trigger any future developments in the field.


Some Thoughts on the Encryption Regulatory Debate

Henry Pearce
Lecturer in Law, University of Hertfordshire, and Doctoral Researcher at the Institute for Law and the Web at the University of Southampton.

This article was originally posted on the UKCLA blog

Debates about the regulation of encryption technologies and surveillance have been around for decades. It is in unfortunate circumstances that these debates have now been thrust back into the public eye. Following the horrifying Westminster attack which occurred on 22nd March 2017 Amber Rudd, the UK’s Home Secretary, has been very vocal in suggesting that in order for the police and security services to be able to effectively investigate and prevent future terrorist acts they must be given access to over-the-top messaging services that utilise end-to-end encryption, such as WhatsApp. (End-to-end encryption services can generally be described as those which allows for conversations to be read only by the sender and recipient of individual messages, meaning that such messages cannot be intercepted and read by a third party.) Her comments appeared to have been driven by the fact that Khalid Masood, the perpetrator of the attack, had used WhatsApp shortly before commencing his appalling actions. In particular, Rudd has claimed it is “unacceptable” that governmental agencies were unable to read messages protected by WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption, and in an interview given to the BBC on Sunday 26th March, intimated that she would consider pursuing the enactment of new legislation which would require the providers of encrypted messaging services to grant access to the UK intelligence agencies. This sentiment has since broadly been endorsed by the UK government. Continue reading “Some Thoughts on the Encryption Regulatory Debate”

Rape victims “raped all over again” during gruelling cross examinations

Chloe Jones
LLB Student at the University of Hertfordshire

Cross examination refers to the questioning of a party or witness during a trial, hearing or deposition by the opposing party whom require the person to testify, to enable them to evaluate the truth and reliability of their testimony, often to enable them to develop it further. The questions during cross-examination are limited to the subjects covered in the direct examination of the witness. Leading questions may be asked and a strong cross-examination can force contradictions and expressions of doubts. Cross examination on victims can be extremely difficult and personal, often involving reliving emotional periods of their lives. This particularly runs true to those involved in crimes of a sexual nature, such as sexual assault and rape. Continue reading “Rape victims “raped all over again” during gruelling cross examinations”

Is the EU moving refugees from one danger zone to another?

Mehwisch Khan
Joint Honours (Law and European Languages) student at the University of Hertfordshire

The agreement between the European Union (EU) and Turkey aims to address the overwhelming flow of irregular migrants and asylum seekers traveling from Turkey to the EU, in efforts to enter into Europe by dangerous means. In return, EU Member States will resettle Syrian refugees in Turkey and provide financial help for Turkey’s refugees. The idea of returns coupled with large-scale resettlement seems reasonable and achievable only from a utopian perspective. However, following close analysis of the agreement since its implementation, there are serious human rights concerns raised by Amnesty International and Member States.[1] There are also well-documented limitations of the existing asylum mechanism and the protection of fundamental rights in “safe third countries”. This allows for only one conclusion: refugees and migrants are being transported from one dangerous war zone such as Syria to another equally dangerous zone, Turkey, only this time the dangers are in a different form with the protection of basic human rights still being endangered.

Continue reading “Is the EU moving refugees from one danger zone to another?”

Are we all serious about integration?

Muki Gorar
Lecturer in Law at the University of Hertfordshire

Europe has embraced millions of immigrants for various reasons since the middle of the 20th century, from economic migrants to those who flee to a safer land in order to save their lives.  Economic opportunities, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights (as enjoyed in Europe) are sought by those who suffer the lack of these conditions in their home country. As a home to many different people from many different backgrounds, Europe has become a multicultural continent. Continue reading “Are we all serious about integration?”