Strasbourg, 17 May 2013
BUREAU OF THE CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL
OF EUROPEAN PROSECUTORS
18th meeting report
Strasbourg, 20 March 2013
Document prepared by the Secretariat
Directorate General I – Human Rights and Rule of Law
1. The Bureau of the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors (CCPE) held its 18th meeting in Strasbourg on 20 March 2013, Mr Antonio MURA (Italy) chairing the meeting.
2. The following members of the Bureau were also present:
· Ms Raija TOIVIAINEN (Finland), Vice-President of the CCPE;
· Mr Cedric VISART de BOCARME (Belgium);
· Ms Alessandra GIRALDI (Denmark).
The agenda is set out in Appendix I.
II. COMMUNICATION BY THE PRESIDENT, MEMBERS OF THE BUREAU AND THE SECRETARIAT
3. The President, on behalf the Bureau and the Working Group, welcomed the possibility that has been offered to Mr Peter McCORMICK (Ireland) by his authorities to participate in the Working Group.
4. The President of the CCPE informed the Bureau of his participation to:
- the 17th Council of Europe Conference of Directors of Prison Administration (Rome, November 2012) focusing on “foreign prisoners”, promoting the latest Council of Europe standards in this area, including discussion with judges and prosecutors on how to reduce prison overcrowding - a problem faced by many prison administrations in Europe today. Ms Alessandra GIRALDI (Denmark) also attended this meeting and presented the CCPE’s Opinion No. 6 on “the relationship between prosecutors and the prison administration”;
- a workshop on external relations and quality service for Chief Prosecutors of Turkish pilot courts (Ankara, 20-21 February 2013) where he made an intervention on external relations of prosecutors and management of resources in the light of CCPE opinions. He also focused on the management of resources (workshop organised within the framework of the Joint Programme between the European Union and the Council of Europe "Strengthening the Court Management in Turkey").
5. Mr MURA will participate, in his capacity as president of the CCPE, in the 6th Meeting of the Network of the Prosecutors General of the European Union on 15-17 May in Krakow, which will focus, amongst other issues, on the possible establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO). The members of the Bureau pointed out the importance of the independence and of the accountability of the future EPPO.
6. The Secretariat informed the Bureau that Mr Joao Miguel Da SILVA, as president of the CCPE (until end of January 2013), participated, together with the Presidents of the CEPEJ and the CCJE, to an official visit organised by the Turkish authorities, to the Turkish High Judicial Council for Judges and Prosecutors (HCJP) (Ankara, 14/16 January 2013).
7. The President also informed the members of the Bureau that, together with the Secretariat, he received an official invitation from the Prosecutor General of Ukraine to organise, in the near future, a plenary meeting of the CCPE in Kyiv. The Secretariat highlights the difficulty to organise presently with the current policy, such important meetings outside Strasbourg as regards the supplementary costs that such a meeting would imply.
8. The Bureau expressed the wish to have an exchange of views with EUROJUST1 and in particular its President, in order to discuss the possible topics of common interest and the opportunity for EUROJUST to participate, in its quality of observer, to the CCPE meetings.
III. PREPARATION OF OPINION No. 8 ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PROSECUTORS AND MEDIA
9. The members of the Bureau discussed the document “Elements for a draft structure of the CCPE Opinion no. 8 on the relationship between prosecutors and media” (Document CCPE-GT(2013)4) prepared by the Secretariat on the basis of the replies to the questionnaire submitted by 36 member States (Document CCPE(2013)2).
10. Particular attention was given by the Bureau to the need to limit the scope of this Opinion to the relevant questions concerning the specific thematic of the relations between prosecutors and media which are: (1) how to comply with the necessity of communication resulting from the obligation of transparency of the prosecutors’ actions vis-à-vis the public; (2) what are the concrete guidelines that can be given to the prosecutors to communicate with the media in a satisfactory way for both sides.
11. As a result of the discussions, the members of the Bureau drafted a structure of the Opinion consisting of the following chapters: (1) Basic principles; (2) Why prosecutors communicate with media? (3) What and how do prosecutors communicate with media? (4) Challenges; (5) Proposed solutions and recommendations. The Bureau decided to submit this draft structure to the CCPE Working Group during its 12th meeting (21-22 March 2013) for further elaboration.
IV. PARTICIPATION OF THE CCPE TO OTHER WORK OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE
a. Cooperation with the European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC)
12. The members of the Bureau had an exchange of view as regards the possible improvement of the Recommendation Rec(2000)19 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on the role of public prosecution in the criminal justice. This Recommendation is a milestone and its principles are still relevant standards in all member States; however, it is necessary to check if it would be useful to update it. In this case, the CCPE could make some proposals to the CDPC, in order to help this Committee in considering if a revision would be advisable.
13. The content of the discussion was the following:
- on one hand, the formal process of revision of a Recommendation may take a long time and the reopening of a general discussion on the topic doesn’t mean that the final text would be improved. Moreover, the revision of the Recommendation would open a debate on the scope of the text, which could be a sensitive question after the adoption of Recommendation CM/Rec(2012)11 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on the role of public prosecutors outside the criminal justice system;
- on the other hand, such a general text can always be improved, namely in order to take into account the changes in this profession, in particular after more than 10 years of implementation. Moreover, the Venice Commission, in its Report on European Standards as regards the Independence of the Judicial System, Part II – The Prosecution Service, adopted by the Venice Commission in December 2010 (Study No. 484/2008), (Document CDL-AD(2010)040), has already pointed out a provision of the Recommendation which should be modified (see paragraphs 58 to 60). It was also noted that paragraph 17 of the Recommendation would be in contradiction with the Bordeaux Declaration2;
- an alternative solution could be for the CCPE to prepare a separate complementary document to be adopted by the CCPE. The new document could include in a summarised way the CCPE principles already adopted in all its opinions, in the same way as the Magna Carta for Judges for the CCJE. Indeed, in the current Rec(2000)19, there are no principles on certain concrete themes on which the CCPE has already worked such as juvenile justice, prison administration, management of means, relation with media or alternative to prosecution.
14. The Bureau decided that this question should further be discussed with the CDPC, including the procedural framework, and with the CCPE at its next plenary meeting.
b. Cooperation with the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS)
15. Mr VISART de BOCARME (Belgium) informed the Bureau that he attended one of the meetings in the process of preparing the draft international Convention to combat the manipulation of sports competitions, carried out within the framework of the Council of Europe Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS). The process of the drafting is still in the very beginning stages. The CCPE is observer in this Agreement. Mr Olivier de BAYNAST, member of the CCPE on behalf of France, also attended an earlier meeting of EPAS.
c. Cooperation with the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ)
16. Mr VISART de BOCARME is also member of a CEPEJ team of experts in Tunisia which intervene within the framework of the Joint Programme between the European Union and the Council of Europe "Strengthening democratic reform in the Southern Neighbourhood". In this capacity, he participated to a Symposium on 13-14 March 2013 in Tunis on “independence of justice” where he presented the guarantees of independence for prosecutors and to a CEPEJ mission in Tunis (27-29 March).
V. OTHER BUSINESS
17. The Bureau had a brief exchange of views concerning the possible topics for the future opinions of the CCPE that have to be included in the next CCPE Terms of Reference (2014-2015). One suggestion would be to deal with the relations between prosecutors and the public or between public prosecutors and private lawyers.
18. Concerning the next 13th Working Group meeting, it will take place, as agreed earlier, on 27-28 June 2013 in Strasbourg.
19. The Bureau of the CCPE took note of the invitation presented by the Prosecutor General of Armenia, Mr Aghvan HOVSEPYAN, duly forwarded by Ms Nelly HARUTIUNYAN, to organise the next plenary meeting of the CCPE in Yerevan, as one of the main events organised in the framework of the Armenian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, at a date to be decided at a later stage.
1. Opening of the meeting / Ouverture de la réunion
2. Adoption of the agenda / Adoption de l’ordre du jour
3. Communication by the President, members of the Bureau and the Secretariat / Communication du Président, des membres du Bureau et du Secrétariat
4. Preparation of the CCPE Opinion No.8 on the the relationship between prosecutors and media / Préparation de l’Avis n°8 sur les relations entre procureurs et médias
5. Exchange of views on the opportunity to update Recommendation Rec(2000)19 on the role of public prosecution in the criminal justice system / Echange de vues sur l’opportunité de mettre à jour la Recommandation Rec(2000)19 sur le rôle du ministère public dans le système de justice pénale
6. Participation of CCPE in preparing the draft international convention to combat the manipulation of sports competitions / La participation du CCPE dans la préparation d’un projet de convention internationale contre la manipulation des compétitions sportives
7. Other work of the CCPE / Autres travaux du CCPE
8. Any other business / Divers
1 EUROJUST is an agency of the European Union dealing with judicial co-operation in criminal matters, set up in 2002, with a seat in the Hague.
2 The Bordeaux Declaration is part of the Joint Opinion of the CCPE and the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE) “On the relations between judges and prosecutors in a democratic society” adopted in 2009.