The Erasmus University Rotterdam (the Netherlands), the Amsterdam Public prosecution office (the Netherlands), together with Bielefeld University (Germany) and the Federal prosecution office (Belgium) have taken the initiative for a research project into the current practice of the transfer of criminal proceedings between member states of the European Union. The project is funded by the European Commission as a part of the Justice programme (JUST-AG-2019).
Status of the research
Phase 1 of the research project was successfully concluded in December 2020, when we received answers of the participating member states (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain and Sweden) on a preliminary questionnaire about the practice of the transfer of criminal proceedings.
Subsequently, Phase 2 started in January 2021 with a thorough analysis of the answers to the received questionnaires per Member State as well as per topic. The results of this analysis were discussed in online brainstorm meetings between the partners. Next step in the TROP-research project would have been performing the onsite visits and in-depth interviews with representatives of the nine participating member states. As it remained impossible to travel due to the COVID 19-restrictions, we chose to continue our analysis instead. This resulted in a second research document, where the answers to the questionnaires were combined with information gathered from other sources and compared with the main issues that lay on the table when the improvement of the legal framework for the transfer of criminal proceedings was discussed on prior occasions in the EU and the Council of Europe. This enriched analysis will be discussed between the partners. It will serve as a basis for the topic list that will be composed for the onsite visits and interviews in the participating Member States.
As the COVID 19-situation shows considerable improvement, we hope to be able to start travelling for the onsite visits and interviews soon. We are now aiming at September 2021. If we succeed in planning and conducting all interviews in September, which would be possible by using different research teams, we could reduce the delay encountered in Phase 2 to a minimum.
In addition, preparations have started for Phase 3 which will see experts gathered in Rotterdam in December 2021 for a Working Conference. In the Working Conference the preliminary findings and possible ways for improvement will be discussed. The Working Conference is open for participants from the participating members states (the respondents interviewed in Phase 2, legislative lawyers and scholars) as well as experts from Eurojust, EJN and non-participating member states.
Finally, Phase 4 will be used to (re)consider all results, lay them down in a written report and formulate joint recommendations for improvement. In all the project will last 22 months (till 1 June 2022).
Further, updated information about the research project can be found here.