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European Conference of Public Prosecutors
“International Co-operation in the Criminal Justice Field”

Warsaw, 4-5 June 2007

Opening Address by Roberto LAMPONI, Director of Co-operation, Council of Europe

I would like to begin by thanking Mr ZIOBRO, Minister of Justice and Prosecutor General of Poland, for his support, his warm welcome and his presence at this meeting, Mr KACMAREK, Minister of the Interior, for honouring us with his presence, and Mr LECIAK, Director of the Polish National Training Centre for the Officials of the Common Courts of Law for the perfect organisation of the meeting.

It is highly symbolic that the Conference is being held in Poland, a country which initiated and encouraged the political changes that have taken place in Central and Eastern Europe, in particular by highlighting the importance of the political independence of public prosecutors.

In 2005 Warsaw was also the venue for the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe, which included the strengthening of the rule of law and the proper functioning of the judicial system among its priorities, referring to the Council of Europe’s legal arsenal - over 30 of the instruments adopted by the Council of Europe concern criminal matters.

The Conference Prosecutors General of Europe (CPGE) was launched in Strasbourg to mark the finalisation of Recommendation Rec (2000)19 on the role of public prosecution
in the criminal justice system and it met once a year every year until 2006. On 13 July 2005 the Ministers’ Deputies acknowledged its growing importance and decided that it should become the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors (CCPE), a consultative body to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

In institutionalising the previous informal forum of the CPGE, the Committee of Ministers, and its European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC), recognises the importance of closely involving the public prosecution services of its member States in its work to devise common policies and legal instruments concerning their functioning and professional activities.

The CCPE, which is made up of high-ranking prosecutors from all member states, meets once a year in plenary and has a Bureau comprising 11 members, which meets between plenary sessions.

Its main task is to prepare opinions on difficulties concerning the implementation of Recommendation Rec(2000)19 on the role of public prosecution in the criminal justice system and on issues concerning the prosecution service. The CCPE is also responsible for promoting the implementation of Recommendation Rec(2000)19.

To help it fulfil its tasks, the CCPE is authorised to hold conferences on themes of common interest to the profession.

Today’s conference is the 1st conference to be held as part of the CCPE’s mandate. The theme is a subject to which the CCPE has decided to give priority in its work for 2007 and which should, in November, lead to the adoption of an opinion on international co-operation in the criminal justice field.

The Conference also follows on from the high-level meeting of Ministers of Justice and the Interior, which took place in Moscow in November 2006 on the application of European conventions in the criminal field, at which member states were invited “to continue their exchanges of good practices”.

It is also closely linked to the work of the Committee of Experts on the Operation of European Conventions in the Penal Field (PC-OC), which is responsible for the monitoring of the application of Council of Europe conventions on criminal matters with a view to finding solutions to concrete problems, speeding up the processing of cases and preventing disputes between States.

In order to be effective, these standards must be applied. Much is at stake as the aim is to protect individuals and states from different forms of crime.

Finally, Ladies and Gentlemen, I do not need to explain to you your role as prosecutors in countries governed by the rule of law, nor why it is important.

I would simply like to invite you to share information and the positive and negative experiences you have of international co-operation in your daily working lives.

The Council of Europe and the CCPE in particular, will treasure such information and use it to ensure that the standard-setting instruments of the Council of Europe continue to reflect the real needs of the profession.