The tenth issue of Eurojust News focuses on environmental crime. We begin by introducing the difficulties encountered in defining environmental crime. This definition is not as straightforward as it may seem, and different agencies have different views of what the definition of environmental crime should include; these divergent views lie at the heart of a topic that remains divisive. Its divisive nature stems from the different treatment environmental crime receives in each Member State; some acts may not be considered criminal offences, whereas others may fall within categories that deny that the acts have an environmental aspect, with the result that they go unrecorded as environmental crimes.
Criminal sanctions are also the subject of much debate in the European Union, particularly whether those convicted of environmental crimes should be given jail sentences. The case examples we include clearly demonstrate the varieties of environmental crime. Unfortunately, the example of the Prestige sinking also demonstrates the difficulties and frustrations encountered in bringing these cases to court.
All of the above reasons make the Eurojust strategic meeting of 27 and 28 November 2013, “Towards an Enhanced Coordination of Environmental Crime Prosecutions across the EU: the Role of Eurojust”, hosted by Eurojust and co-organised by the ENPE, extremely timely, raising awareness of a range of important issues to those who may be able to bring changes in their home countries.
Our interviews in this issue are, as ever, leading figures: Dr Janez Potočnik, Commissioner, DG Environment; Jonathan Robinson, Head of Legal Services, UK Environment Agency; Anne Brosnan, Chief Prosecutor, UK Environment Agency; Professor Dr Ludwig Krämer, Director of ClientEarth’s European Union Aarhus Centre; Catherine Alfonsi, First Officer in the Financial and Property Crimes Unit of Europol; Jean-Philippe Rivaud, Vice-President, ENPE, Deputy General Prosecutor and Senior Prosecutor, Head of the Environmental Crimes Department of France; Rosa Ana Morán Martinez, Head of International Cooperation in the Prosecution Service of Madrid; Alvaro Garcia Ortiz, Environmental Crimes Prosecutor, Galicia, Spain; Leif Görts, National Member for Sweden and project manager of Eurojust’s strategic project on environmental crime; Jarmo Rintala, District Prosecutor, Pohjanmaa, Finland; and Kate Fleming, Specialist Prosecutor, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, UK.
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