Judicial review of EPPO procedural acts and decisions: a disruptive and resilient architecture?

Crime Scene

by Luis de Lemos Triunfante, Judge-Second National Expert at Eurojust Portuguese Desk

“The creation of a European Public Prosecutor’s Office will enable us to have the missing tools: kick investigations across the Union and exchange of information in real time. The European Public Prosecutor will work together with the Deputy Prosecutors of each of the 17 participating countries and congregate national expertise by coordinating them at EU level. The objective is to create a strong, independent and effective body that develops expertise in the fight against financial crime throughout the EU. The 17 Member States concerned will now move the process forward, hoping that others will join soon. The Commission has always defended the interest of all Member States and this initiative is open to all”, Sharing sovereignty to combat financial crime – Jean-Claude Juncker.

DH-CII (Human Rights Centre for Interdisciplinary Research), in collaboration with CEDU (Centre of Studies in EU Law) and the Union of Magistrates of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, organised, on 18 May at the Law School of the University of Minho, an International Criminal Law Congress about “The new challenges of Judicial and police cooperation in the European Union and the implementation of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office”.

The aim of that initiative was to bring to the discussion the main issues that lie today in judicial and police cooperation, mutual recognition, harmonization and the protection of human rights in the European Union. It also intended to analyse the challenges surrounding the implementation of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO). In a special way, a critical and prospective look was taken on the Proposal for a Council Regulation establishing the EPPO under discussion, taking into account the current state of negotiations, the main aspects of substantive criminal law and substantive Criminal proceedings; the Statute and the institutional design of the EPPO (matters of institutional law) and the relations between the EPPO, Eurojust and OLAF.

One of the main issues of the EPPO is the judicial review.
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Analysis of the Taricco Judgement: The EU’s Financial Interests Come First

by Daniela Guimarães, Collaborating Member of CEDU

On 8th, September 2015, the Court of Justice of the European Union reached a decision that draws consequences from the case law Åkerberg Fransson, C-617/10, considering the standpoint of the protection of the financial interests of the European Union.

Mr. Ivo Taricco and other defendants, Italian citizens, were charged before the Tribunale di Cuneo (Italy), for having formed and organised during the fiscal years 2005 to 2009 a conspiracy to commit various offenses in relation to VAT. During their legal prosecution, several matters have arisen in the case causing delays in the process. Such delays can have serious consequences once the limitation period for each of the accused goes from six to seven years and even though that limitation period can be interrupted, it cannot be extended beyond a quarter of its initial duration (Articles 160 and 161, Italian Penal Code). According to the referring court, it is certain that all the offences will be time-barred before a final judgement can be delivered regarding the accused. The referring judge says that situations of “de facto impunity” in cases related to tax evasion are rather normal due to the mentioned Italian norms as they do not allow an extension of the limitation period in crimes such as the ones at stake. Being the criminal investigations, in most cases, of great complexity, often, the time-limit compromises an effective criminal prosecution. In practical terms, the statute of limitations regime in Italy can, actually, function as a “way out” for white collar crime offenders.

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