About the project

The European Union constitutes an Area of Freedom, Security and Justice. The EU Member States cooperate within this Area on issues of cross-border crime. Individuals who have committed crimes in one Member State should not escape justice simply by moving to another Member State. The European Arrest Warrant enables Member States to request the surrender of convicted persons or suspects.

This has proved to be an efficient mechanism as it involves a minimum of procedural complexity and discretion for executing Member States. Other instruments regulate the transfer of prisoners and the supervision of alternative sanctions and probation measures. Cooperation between the Member States is based on mutual recognition of the decisions adopted by judicial authorities and on mutual trust in each other’s justice systems.

The judicial systems of the Member States differ, however. These differences may indeed be considerable. Currently, the differences in detention conditions across the EU pose an urgent issue. This affects the fundamental rights of the persons concerned and may undermine the foundations of the cooperation between the Member States.

The main objective of our project* is to assess whether current Union legal instruments based on mutual recognition in criminal matters adequately protect fundamental rights. We focus in particular on the protection against torture and degrading treatment, the right to a fair trial and the right to private and family life. The project adopts a multidisciplinary (law and social sciences) approach to study the effects, possibilities and problems of the principle of mutual recognition in EU criminal law from the citizens’ perspective.

To achieve this goal, this project studies the implementation and enforcement of various EU legal instruments facilitating cross-border cooperation (including the European Arrest Warrant, the Transfer of Prisoners and the supervision of alternative sanctions and probation measures) and measures aimed at protecting fundamental rights.

Furthermore, it seeks to establish on the basis of empirical research how these policies function in practice. The selected countries are Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Sweden.

* Improving the transfer of persons pursuant to mutual recognition of judicial decisions in criminal matters and the citizens’ fundamental rights protection.
JUST/2014/JCOO/ AG/CRIM/7755

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