Sunday, June 17, 2007
University of Helsinki CrimProf Raimo Lahti recently discussed how the attempts of the European Union to harmonise criminal law and criminal sanctions in the European Union is leading to an approach that contains elements foreign to Nordic criminal policy.
European culture has traditionally set great store by democracy, human rights and rule of law. In practice, however, these have had varying manifestations in the different legal systems of Europe. “All EU Member States have signed the European Convention on Human Rights and are therefore bound by it. Problems arise from the divergent implementation of the Convention. It is usually a matter of details, for example evidence can be treated differently in different countries, and in some Member States sentences may also be passed in absentia,” says CrimProf Raimo Lahti.
Opening national borders has made crime more international and at the same time has placed pressure on harmonising European regulations of criminal offences and sanctions. Organised crime, such as drug trafficking and money laundering, is already commonplace, and from the perspective of the EU, the protection of its financial interests is also significant.
“It is also much easier for criminals to escape to another country. The European Arrest Warrant is a means by which countries have endeavoured to make it easier to extradite criminals to the country where the offence took place. Here, as well as in all questions related to criminal law, efficiency and individual rights are juxtaposed, and we are seeking to strike a balance between the two,” says Lahti.
Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]