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Criminal Justice specific programme (2007-13)

This decision establishes the Criminal Justice specific programme. This programme constitutes one of the five pillars of the Fundamental Rights and Justice general programme, which aims to create a genuine area of freedom, security and justice within the European Union (EU). The Criminal Justice programme should improve cooperation and mutual trust between EU countries’ judicial authorities and legal practitioners.

ACT

Council Decision 2007/126/JHA of 12 February 2007 establishing for the period 2007 to 2013, as part of the General Programme on Fundamental Rights and Justice, the Specific Programme Criminal Justice.

SUMMARY

This decision establishes the specific programme Criminal Justice. This programme is one of the five specific programmes that make up the Fundamental Rights and Justice general programme, developed with the aim of creating an area of freedom, security and justice within the European Union (EU).

This Criminal Justice programme covers the period from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2013.

General objectives

The Criminal Justice programme is aimed at creating a European area of justice. It has four main objectives, including:

  • promoting judicial cooperation in criminal matters;
  • bringing the judicial systems of EU countries closer together and to that of the EU;
  • enhancing contacts and the exchange of information and best practices between legal, judicial and administrative authorities and the legal professions and promoting the training of the members of the judiciary;
  • further improving mutual trust between the judicial authorities.

Specific objectives

More precisely, the Criminal Justice programme seeks to foster judicial cooperation in criminal matters, with the aim of:

  • promoting mutual recognition of judicial decisions;
  • approximating the judicial systems of EU countries in criminal matters, in particular with regard to serious cross-border crime;
  • establishing minimum standards concerning aspects of procedural criminal law;
  • avoiding conflicts of jurisdiction;
  • improving the exchange of information, for example, through a computerised system for exchanging information on national criminal records;
  • promoting the protection of individuals involved in criminal proceedings and assistance to victims;
  • strengthening EU countries cooperation with Eurojust;
  • promoting measures aimed at re-socialising offenders.

The programme also aims to achieve the following specific objectives:

  • to improve mutual knowledge of EU countries’ legal and judicial systems and to strengthen networking, cooperation and the exchange of information and best practices;
  • to ensure the sound implementation and evaluation of EU action in the area of judicial cooperation in criminal matters;
  • to better inform the public about legal systems in EU countries and about access to justice;
  • to promote training in European law for those involved in the work of the judiciary;
  • to improve mutual understanding between EU countries to pave the way for mutual trust;
  • to implement a computerised system for the exchange of information on criminal records and to examine the possibility of establishing other types of exchanges of information.

Eligible actions

The Criminal Justice programme supports various initiatives, including:

  • actions taken by the Commission, such as research, the implementation of specific projects, the formulation of indicators and methodologies, the development of networks of national experts and the dissemination of information;
  • transnational projects presented by several EU countries working together (at least two EU countries or at least one EU country and one other country that may either be an acceding or a candidate country);
  • the activities of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or other entities pursuing aims of general European interest;
  • expenditure of the European Judicial Training Network, which may obtain an operating grant as part of this programme;
  • EU countries’ national projects, individually, may be supported under this programme, subject to certain conditions.

Target groups

The programme is targeted in particular at those involved in the work of the judiciary, national authorities and the citizens of the Union in general.

The programme is open to both public and private organisations, including professional organisations, universities, research and training institutes, legal practitioners and NGOs. It is also open to organisations that are profit oriented, but subject to certain conditions.

Non-EU countries and international organisations may participate in transnational projects only as partners.

Types of EU funding

There are two types of EU funding provided under the programme, including:

  • grants, which are normally awarded following calls for proposals, through operating grants and grants to actions. The annual work programme must specify the minimum rate of annual expenditure to be awarded to grants, which shall be at least 65 %. It must also specify the maximum rate of co-financing of projects;
  • public procurement contracts are foreseen for accompanying measures, such as the purchase of goods and services, particularly expenditure on information and communications, the implementation and monitoring of projects, policies, programmes and legislation.

Implementing measures

The Commission implements the financial support in accordance with the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the EU. It also adopts an annual work programme specifying the specific objectives, thematic priorities and the accompanying measures that are funded through public procurement contracts.

The evaluation and award procedures take several criteria into account, including:

  • conformity with the annual work programme, the four general objectives, the specific objectives and the eligible actions;
  • quality of the action;
  • amount of EU financing requested;
  • relationship between the expected results and the general objectives, specific objectives and eligible actions.

The award of operating grants to actions taken by NGOs or by the European Judicial Training Network is also subject to certain criteria.

Coordination with other programmes

Synergies should be created with other programmes, including the:

Monitoring and evaluation

To allow the Commission to monitor any action financed by the programme, the beneficiary of the funding must:

  • submit technical and financial reports on the progress of the work and a final report within three months of completion of the action funded;
  • keep available for the Commission all the supporting documents regarding expenditure for a period of five years following the last payment in respect of the action taken.

For its part, the Commission will:

  • carry out supervision and financial control of actions resulting from this programme, in particular by on-the-spot checks. The Court of Auditors may also carry out audits in order to ensure the proper implementation of expenditure;
  • ensure that, if necessary, the scale or conditions of allocation of the financial assistance and timetable for payments are adjusted;
  • ensure that every other necessary step be taken to verify that the actions are properly carried out.

The Commission must apply measures to prevent fraud, corruption and any other illegal activities. It will carry out checks, recover amounts unduly paid and apply penalties in the event of irregularities.

The Commission will ensure the regular, independent and external monitoring and evaluation of the programme. It will annually publish a list of actions financed under the programme.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Decision 2007/126/JHA

24.2.2007

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OJ L 58, 24.2.2007

Last updated: 18.05.2011
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