As the newly elected Chair of the European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC), I would like to say a few words about the work of the committee, in particular its recent achievements and future goals.
Over the coming years, the CDPC will tackle the major challenges faced by criminal justice in Europe and beyond and by international co-operation in the fight against crime. Its work will be three-fold:
First of all, and in relation with the promotion of the standard settings in criminal matters, the CDPC approved, in 2013, three legal instruments in the field of criminal justice: the Convention against Trafficking in Human Organs, and two important Recommendations on dangerous offenders and on electronic monitoring. We were also greatly involved in the drafting of the Council of Europe Convention against the Manipulation of Sports competitions, offering expert advice on the criminal law provisions of this important legal text. In 2014, rather than developing new legal instruments, the CDPC will be focussing on taking stock of the performance of the more than 30 CoE Conventions and numerous recommendations in the criminal law field. Our attention will turn to the judges, prosecutors and civil servants whose job it is to implement these legal instruments and together we will strive to find ways of improving their visibility, impact and efficiency, to identify operational problems or obstacles to their implementation, to assess the necessity of amending or updating them and to propose solutions. The initiatives to encourage an increase in the number of signatures/ratifications of the MEDICRIME Convention will continue, with the organisation of further activities to raise awareness of this global legal instrument.
In addition, although the nature of our standard-setting work varies, the promotion of the security of citizens in Europe, against a background of justice, human rights and the rule of law, remains the main aim of the CDPC. Much attention will therefore be paid to improving and facilitating the implementation of the conventions on international cooperation in criminal matters. In the coming year the CDPC will furthermore be addressing some new criminal law challenges. The rapidly-increasing problem of urban violence in Europe and the need for a swift judicial response, focussing on the involvement of juveniles as instigators of urban violence notably though the Internet, social networking sites and other information and communication technologies is a new controversial issue to which the CDPC will turn its attention. Moreover transnational organised crime is becoming an increasingly important issue in many Council of Europe member states and thus for the CDPC. With a view to overcoming the legal loopholes and proposing a strategic approach and common response to the threat posed by this type of crime, a “White Paper” presenting a comprehensive and multidisciplinary reflection of this problem, will be presented to the Committee of Ministers in 2014.
Finally, the dissemination of the Council of Europe standards in the field of prisons and police, which are mainly products of the CDPC’s work will continue. In 2014 multilateral meetings to exchange experiences and identify good practices in the implementation of the Recommendation on electronic monitoring will be organised along with the implementation of other projects on capacity-building and strengthening of European standards in the prison field in different CoE member states.