Word from the President of the Council of European Prosecutors (CCPE)
Peter McCORMICK (President of the CCPE since January 2017, Member of the Bureau since January 2015, Ireland)
It is a great honour and privilege for me to be elected President of the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors (CCPE) and I am very appreciative of the great support and confidence expressed by the Plenary members in me.
The CCPE has now firmly established its position within the Council of Europe and 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.
In some member countries, however, there are still difficulties in terms of applying the Recommendation. The work of the CCPE therefore continues, and its Opinions serve as reference points for public prosecution services, reflecting the many different legal systems in Europe, whether based on Civil or Common Law.
The CCPE has now adopted 11 Opinions. These Opinions, and in particular;
- the Rome Charter on European Norms concerning Prosecutors (2014), and
- the Opinion on “the Role of Prosecutors in Criminal Investigations” (2015),
provide clear guidance as to how Prosecutors should go about their work. This is becoming more and more important, as can be seen from the 2015 Report of the Bureaux of the CCPE and Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE) on the main challenges to judicial impartiality and independence in Council of Europe member states.
The Rome Charter, adopted in December 2014, setting out European norms and principles concerning the role, obligations, independence and autonomy of public prosecutors in Council of Europe member States, also illustrates the CCPE’s desire to be part of a dynamic approach to public prosecution.
International cooperation is also becoming increasingly important and prosecutors need to constantly adapt to technological advances and work as efficiently as possible, while also respecting the principles of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The CCPE has a lot of work ahead. Over the next year our immediate task is to formulate our Opinion focusing on “the Rights of Victims, Witnesses and Vulnerable Persons”.
We must never lose sight of these rights. In pursuing prosecutions, we should be aware of the effect a crime will have had on a victim. Giving evidence is also likely to be difficult for all but, professional witnesses, and prosecutors should try to avoid causing them any secondary victimisation.
This is a topic that we will need to consider very carefully over the next year and I look forward to working with the Bureau and Working Party in developing a draft Opinion for presentation to the CCPE Plenary in November.