The European Criminal Court Act
The European Criminal Court Act
Authored by: Councillor James Tournary [POR], Justice Justin Olatos [POR], [UK] Rachel Reeves
Presented by: Councillor James Tournay
Article 1. Preamble
Section I. Definitions
- The European Criminal Court shall henceforth be known as the ECC and is defined as the legal entity and corporation in which these powers are vested.
- A Criminal Justice shall be defined as a member of the ECC whom has the right to use the powers vested to the ECC by this honourable council.
- A ‘Regional Dispute’ shall be defined as a conflict of interest or infringement upon an act of the council, regarding two or more member states of the European Union.Section II. Purpose of the Act
- This act sets forth to establish a body for dealing with regional transgressions which are not infringements upon the Constitution of the European Union but are infringements upon one of the acts of the Council.
- This act in no way contravenes the right of national governments and justice services to deal with national matters and is not a Court of Appeal for National Criminal Proceedings but is restricted to acting upon ‘Regional Disputes’
Article 2. The Actions of the ECC
Section I. Members of the ECC
- The ECC shall consist of 3 Justices and a Permanent Secretary of the ECC
- Each Justice shall be elected to serve a term of 3 months
- Elections for a justice shall be overseen by the Permanent Secretary of the ECC
- Each nation is restricted such that only one member of their state may serve on the ECC at any one time
- A nation is further restricted to a maximum of 2 terms before a term break must be taken
- The permanent secretary of the ECC shall be elected by the European Council, within 3 days of the bill taking effect all interested parties must notify the Council, the following 10 days will be used for the voting of these parties – the vote shall be first past the post.
- The nation of the Permanent Secretary may not put forward candidates for the ECC
- The Permanent Secretary’s role will be solely administrative.
- Nations whom are members of the ECOJ and the European Commission may not put forward a candidate for either role.
- The term of the Permanent Secretary shall end under the following circumstance: The Secretary retires or a Motion of no confidence is put before the European Council and receives a super-majority of 75%
Section II. Powers of the ECC
- The ECC may only intervene when requested by a member state of the European Union, as such any requests for proceedings must be made in the name of the State to which the Prosecuting body belongs.
- The ECC may issue warrants to request the presence of a Citizen of the European Union before the court.
- The ECC may request access to national judicial databases or information for evidence of previous convictions of those presented before the court.
- A decision of the ECC must be accepted by national governments and must be upheld by these national governments.
- The ECC may penalise members or bodies of the European Union with: unlimited fines, penal servitude within a member state of the European Union - upon the agreement of that member state, sanctions against a member state or business that must be obeyed by all member states of the European Union or temporary suspension of liberties (ie – freedom of movement) or any combination of the above.
- In the event of cases involving Military actions, or war crimes, the ECC shall be presented with sensitive military information upon request in a ‘closed court’ where media and other bodies cannot attend.Section III. Court proceedings of the ECC
- Any prosecuting nation must petition the Permanent Secretary for the ECC with any evidence and as much details as possible.
- The Permanent Secretary will then notify the Justices of the ECC to ask whether any are willing to take the case on – A Justice of a nation involved is unable to take the case on.
- The approval of a justice will be announced by the Permanent Secretary and all parties will be request before the court on an arranged date.
- In the Court the following events must occur for the case to be valid:
- Opening statements
- Presentation of arguments and evidence
- Cross examination of opposing arguments
- Closing statements
- The Justice will then announce the closure of the court and within 24 hours will announce the result and, if applicable, and convictions.
- Should the nation believe it necessary, they may appeal, they must launch a request of appeal to the Permanent Secretary, and another judge may then take up the case.
- Should a case last longer than the term of an ECC Justice, the Justice will continue until the end of the case alongside the new justice assigned, the new justice will then decide the result and any convictions.
Before we start, can the speaker please clarify the timings for the debate.
Apologies, I thought I should leave that to the speaker.
I don't understand the need to bring this bill before the Council at this stage.
We have just passed through the Commission and ECoJ Elections and possible reform of the ECoJ was a fundamental part of several of the elected Commissioners manifestos. The Premier Commissioner has already opened a Consultation upon the possible reform of the ECoJ.
This bill explains how a Criminal Court might operate, but this is a bill taken completely without context. There is no indication that the creation of a new Court with new powers and new Justices is required. Nor is there any indication how the creation of this Court might improve the administration of Justice within the European Union. Nor what shortcomings its creation would overcome.
We already have a Court of Justice that is criticised for its inefficiency. Creating a new Court, but based upon exactly the same administrative premises as the existing Court will not improve the situation one iota. In fact it would make matters worse, as any reform coming out of the Premier Commissioner's consultation would need to be implemented across two Courts rather than one.
If we need to conceive a system of Criminal Courts, then I can see no reason why it should not simply be a division of the ECoJ operating under the same Justices. The bill suggests that the Justices for the proposed Criminal Court have to come from nations who have not already supplied Justices to the existing Court or Commissioners. In the recent elections to the ECoJ, there were only as many nominations as there were seats to fill. If there are insufficient nations with people willing to serve as Justices in the ECoJ, how as a nation are we going to find alternative nations to provide Justices to sit in the newer Court.
No. This bill is premature in its submission to the Council. The need for a Criminal Court has been neither made nor discussed and this decision has to be made before we start to discuss the possible constitution of the Court.
Whilst, I am not averse to the concept of a Criminal Court, the case for a Criminal Court has yet to be made and this bill does not do it. If this bill reaches the voting stage, Framptonia will not be supporting it as it stands.
Miss Stephanie Hughes - EU Councillor
"I see it unfit to place debates within a piece of legislation as this would just waste space for legislation - this is why no indication of why it is necessary has been added.. Also this Bill was put before the council before the remarks of the Premier Commissioner and I assure you I have consulted with him since. I have taken into account the efficiency of the ECOJ when writing this proposal - one of the major failings of the ECOJ is the fact that it cannot pass periods of election which means people are unable to place these types of accusations through - this has been solved by allowing the run over period. Also I have tried to cut down on inefficiency by only one justice needing to be present to hear the case at any time - meaning only one active justice is essentially needed for it. I have also tried to streamline the process through the Permanent Secretary for the ECC, who will be able to oversee all of these things - and ensure the cases run smoothly whilst also being able to report any failings in it - If the Councillor believes these are inefficient I firstly question why? and Secondly question why this clear intent to fix things has gone unnoticed? The ECOJ is solely based with dealing with the constitutional effects which causes great difficulty when a state attempts to ignore a bill of the Council - for example the recent situation with Davishire - which I believe means this bill is not premature but if anything late for coming before the council. Furthermore if you read the bill carefully it says they cannot be a member if part of the ECOJ and the Commission, ie a member cannot be all 3 at once this section was carefully worded so I implore you to read again - so I believe that ruins your entire argument about the lack of Justices due to your misinterpretation of the act.
Any further arguments you have against the bill, I will happily argue against. Thank you"
- Councillor James Tournay
I have to agree with my colleague from Framptonia. Several commissioners issued manifestos including justice reform and I feel that we should wait until the current consultation closes.Whilst I do not oppose a criminal court, it is not appropriate to create a new court without reforming and changing the existing structure.
Such reform needs more than this one piece of legislation and will probably need changes to the EU constitution and will need much more consultation than can be offered by a single council debate.
For those reasons amongst others, Davishire will be voting against this bill
"This act is most definitely noble in its intentions, I can very clearly see that, and I hugely appreciate Councillor Tournay's efforts in producing it before the Council. However, Inimicus has some issues with this act that prevent us from supporting it as it stands at present.
First of all, I think it is much more efficient, pragmatic, and sensible to first, as some voices have already raised, attend to reforming the European Court of Justice, which is admittedly rather inefficient, impragmatic, and insensible at present. It is best to see how we can improve in that field first, and then, if circumstances still necessitate, turn our eyes to setting up a Criminal Court. I would say the ECoJ requires some definite, real attention first, as the body is quiet at the best of times, and totally inactive at the worst.
Moreover, I would say the issue of the Permanent Secretary is a fairly undemocratic concept, not something which the Inimician Imperial Government can endorse, as we above all value the concept of democratic decision-making. This can be fixed relatively easily in a small amendment, however, and does not necessarily form a lasting objection to this Act.
The final case His Imperial Majesty's Government wishes to make against this Act is that we are already struggling to fill Commission and ECoJ seats, let alone another four positions. We cannot guarantee that this ECC will be filled, let alone functioning. I would say we focus on reforming the current system before we turn our eyes to creating new bodies, which, I agree, can be more than useful."
Councillor Ralph Jaevons on behalf of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Artabanos of Inimicus
I thank Councillor Tournay for his explanation, but I'm afraid it just fills me with more confusion.
I can understand there being no explanation of the perceived need for this bill within the bill itself and I wasn't asking for any explanation to be included in the bill. But I would still like to know why you consider the need for this bill.
I thank the Councillor too for his explanation about the restrictions on members of the ECoJ and the Commission from standing for election to the proposed Court - I must admit that I had not identified the specific wording used, perhaps the use of the word "both" rather than "and" would have been less ambiguous. However this fills me with more concern. The proposed bill would prevent nations with a Justice on the ECoJ and a Commissioner putting up a candidate for the Criminal Court. But it does not prevent a the reverse happening. But a nation with a member on the Criminal Court and either the Commission or the ECoJ is not prevented under the terms of the bill as presented from putting a third candidate for the other body.
Councillor Tournay states that the bill will resolve an issue whereby cases are interrupted by elections. Surely it would be much easier to amend the Constitution of the ECoJ to overcome this, rahter than setting up a completely separate Court?
Furthermore the bill suggests that it deals with infringements of Acts of the Council which are not infringements of the Constitution. Except that that Paragraph IV of Section III of Article II of the Constitution states that "Passed proposals are binding on all member states". This means that all infringement of Council Acts are de facto also infringements of the Constitution. In other words, there are no cases that will fall under the jurisdiction of this Court
The more I look at this bill the fewer reasons I find to recommend it.
Miss Stephanie Highes - EU Councillor