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1.Legislative procedure in the Parliament and in
the Council
The text of the Commission’s proposal forms the basis for all discussions in the other institutions. Article 293(1)
TFEU states: ‘Where, pursuant to the Treaties, the Council acts on a proposal from the Commission, it may
amend that proposal only by acting unanimously, except in the cases referred to in’ a small number of Treaty
provisions. Even though the proposal has been submitted in all the official languages, for practical reasons most of
those discussions focus on just one language version, now generally the English version but in a small proportion
of cases the French version. In the codecision procedure over 70% of legislative acts are now adopted at first
reading. If the Parliament and the Council do not agree on the Commission proposal at first reading, it passes to a
second reading, after which, if there is still no agreement, a conciliation procedure is launched. The basic
principle of the codecision procedure is that the same text is adopted by the two institutions. Article 294 TFEU
‘The European Parliament shall adopt its position at first reading and communicate it to the Council.
If the Council approves the European Parliament’s position, the act concerned shall be adopted in the
wording which corresponds to the position of the European Parliament’.
Within the Parliament the proposal is assigned to the competent Committee and a Rapporteur is chosen. The
Rapporteur will present to the Committee a draft report comprising a draft legislative resolution and, where
appropriate, amendments to the draft act. The Rapporteur is given a mandate by the Committee and represents the
Parliament in the negotiations with the Council and Commission. When those negotiations are concluded, the
Committee submits to the Plenary for voting its final report, again comprising a draft legislative resolution and any
amendments to the draft act. In most cases, the Parliament proposes textual changes, known as ‘amendments’, to
the Commission’s proposal. In the procedure at first reading, amendments may be tabled by any committee
member at the committee stage, while in the plenary amendments are admissible only if they are tabled by the
committee responsible, by a political group or by forty MEPs.
Within the Council, the proposal is examined by a working party competent for the sector concerned (of which there
are now some 160) composed of national experts from all the Member States and chaired by a representative of the
country holding the six-monthly presidency of the Union. Administrative support is provided by the General
Secretariat of the Council and usually consists of a civil servant from the Directorate-General for the sector
concerned and a member of the Legal Service. The chair seeks to facilitate political compromises in the working
party. In the case of codecision procedures, the chair will be given a mandate for the negotiations with the
Parliament and Commission in the trilogues. In the most sensitive cases the working party may ask the Committee
of Permanent Representatives of the governments of the Member States (generally known by its French acronym
‘COREPER’) or the Council itself (in the configuration of the ministers for the sector concerned) to define a
‘general approach’ which constitutes a negotiating mandate. The Member States’ representatives on the working
parties are generally all technical experts rather than lawyers and the system encourages them to reach a
compromise over texts. According to the Council’s Rules of Procedure:
‘When discussing texts, delegations shall make concrete drafting proposals, in writing, rather than
merely express their disagreement with a particular proposal’.
To accommodate the different interests of all Member States, numerous textual changes to the Commission’s
proposal are generally suggested.
The negotiations between the three institutions are conducted in what are known as ‘trilogues’. The
trilogues serve to bring the positions of the three institutions closer together and to enable the representative
of each institution to keep it informed of the direction of the negotiations. In the ‘informal trilogues’ the Parliament
is generally represented by the Rapporteur of the competent Committee, the Council by the representative on the
appropriate Working Party of the Member State holding the six- monthly presidency of the Union and the
Commission by the representative of the DG for the sector concerned. In the ‘formal trilogues’, which may be
convened for particularly sensitive negotiations, the representatives will be at a higher level and the Parliament
Rapporteur will meet, for example, the Chair of COREPER and the competent Director General from the
Commission. Meetings of the trilogues are generally also attended by staff of the Parliament and by staff of the
General Secretariat of the Council (usually a civil servant from the Directorate-General for the sector concerned
and a member of the Legal Service). Meetings continue at intervals for months or years. In the majority of cases,
the trilogues proceed smoothly and the act is now usually adopted at first reading. But in some 30% of cases a
proposal will go to a second reading, after which, if there is still no agreement, it goes to conciliation.
If the Commission takes the view that, as a result of the amendments made by Parliament and Council, its proposal
has been ‘denatured’, that is, changed to such an extent that it no longer reflects the original intention, it may
withdraw its proposal at any time before its adoption, after which the act may no longer be adopted. That power

theoretically gives the Commission a stronger position during the negotiations with the other two institutions but
in practice it is hardly ever exercised. Indeed, if it becomes evident in the course of the negotiations that substantial
changes to a proposal are needed to take account of the other institutions’ concerns, the Commission may agree to
submit an amended proposal.
The Parliament has some ninety lawyer-linguists, who are in the Legislative Quality Units of the Directorate for
Legislative Acts in the Directorate-General for the Presidency of the Parliament. Traditionally they focused on the
amendments proposed by the Members of the European Parliament and were involved at the final stage of the
parliamentary procedure but they are now increasingly becoming involved at earlier stages when they offer
advice on drafting and legislative matters generally.
The ninety lawyer-linguists in the General Secretariat of the Council are part of its Legal Service. Since 2007 a
‘quality team’ has been designated to follow each proposal for a codecision act as it passes through the procedures.
The quality team comprises a lawyer- linguist as ‘quality adviser’ and a legal adviser who work closely
together. The quality adviser attends the meetings on the proposal where necessary and, in close collaboration
with the legal adviser, may make drafting suggestions.
Before the vote in Plenary the Parliament’s lawyer-linguists work to revise in all the languages the consolidated
text comprising the Commission’s proposal together with any amendments agreed by Parliament and Council.
The text voted on by the plenary constitutes the ‘position’ of the Parliament and cannot be altered substantially
after that vote. Ideally, therefore, the lawyer-linguists of the Parliament and of the Council must start to work
together to agree a final text as soon as political agreement has been reached between the two institutions on a
reasonably finalised text (that is when the Chair of COREPER confirms to the Chair of the relevant parliamentary
committee that a trilogue has been successful) and their revised text should be ready before the vote in
Plenary. The task of leading the finalisation work by the lawyer-linguists is shared equally between the two
institutions, as is the work of translating the final amended text into all the languages.
During the legal-linguistic revision the text is passed to and fro between the Parliament and the Council lawyerlinguists in a procedure that takes some six to eight weeks. For each text the Parliament appoints a ‘file
coordinator’ and the Council a ‘chef de file’ to coordinate the work. They work together with experts on the
file from the three institutions to establish a base text in one language (usually English) ahead of the final
revision meeting, known as the ‘jurist-linguists meeting’.
The jurist-linguists meeting is attended by:
 Member States representatives: the representative of each Member State on the working party;
 Parliament representatives: the file coordinator and the English-language lawyer-linguist;
 Council representatives: the chef de file, who chairs the meeting, one lawyer- linguist for each
official language, and the administrator for the Directorate General concerned in the Council
General Secretariat;
 Commission representative: the expert (generally the person who drafted the
Commission’s proposal).
The jurist-linguists meeting goes through the whole text in English and agrees on the final English text which is
then distributed to the Council lawyer-linguists for all the other languages. By this stage it is difficult to improve
the quality of drafting significantly because of the risk of undoing a delicate political compromise. Furthermore,
changes may be opposed by the Member States’ representatives.
The jurist-linguists meeting does not consider any points that are specific to other languages, unless they raise
issues that can be resolved only by changing the original. The process of editing the original text to eliminate
inconsistencies or lack of precision or clarity in order to ensure that all the twenty three language versions can
have the same meaning is known in the jargon as ‘retroaction’.
After the jurist-linguists meeting each Council lawyer-linguist goes through the text in his or her own language
with the national experts for Member States which use that language to produce the final versions, which they
send to their Parliament counterparts for final checking.
The finalised text is submitted to COREPER and to the Council for formal adoption and:
 placed on the public register;
 sent to the capitals of the Member States and to the Permanent
 adopted by the Council;
 prepared for signature (this text is known in the jargon as the ‘LEX version’);
 submitted for signing by the Secretaries-General and Presidents of the
Parliament and of the Council;
 sent to the Publications Office for publication in the Official Journal;

 formally lodged in the Council archive.
Article 297 TFEU requires the publication in the Official Journal of all legislative acts, of all regulations, and of all
directives which are addressed to all the Member States.
The Publications Office of the European Union is responsible for publishing all Union legislation.40 Since the
inception of the European Communities it has published the Official Journal on paper for a modest subscription.
The Official Journal contains not just legislation but also information, notices, calls to tenders and notices of
staff vacancies. Over the years, therefore, it has developed a complex structure that may make it less accessible to
ordinary users.41
Since 1998 an online version has also been published but the electronic versions are not authentic. In 2011 the
Commission submitted to the Council for adoption by special legislative procedure a proposal to make the
electronic version authentic which is still pending.42
In addition, in response to the calls for improved accessibility of Union law over the years, the Publications Office
has developed a system of websites and databases covering all aspects of Union law. Between 2003 and 2005 it
created a single portal, called EUR-Lex, for accessing all that information.43 That portal gives access free of charge
in particular to:
 the electronic version of the Official Journal;
 collections of the treaties, international agreements, legislation in force, legislation in
preparation, case-law, parliamentary questions – all accessible via hyperlinks;
 search engines for legislation and related measures; and
 consolidated texts of legislation, that is to say non-authentic texts combining the enacting terms of
original acts and all amendments to them (covering some 3 000 acts).
The Europa website also includes 3 000 summaries of Union legislation divided into 32 subject areas. The
summaries have no legal force but they are “validated” by the relevant DG of the Commission and updated
The Union institutions also maintain large databases of information about the legislative process and its
preparatory stages. The Parliament goes to great lengths to offer access to its sessions. When the Council
deliberates and votes on draft legislation, its sessions are open to the public. Most Commission DGs maintain
public websites offering explanatory material about legislation in their respective sectors.
Post-publication issues
The Commission estimates that on average 40% of its proposals each year relate to amendment of existing legislative
acts. Since it is clearly vital to keep Union legislation as accessible as possible, the institutions have agreed that
amendments should ‘take the form of text to be inserted in the act to be amended’. This makes it possible to
produce almost mechanically consolidated texts of the law in force at any given moment and also to codify and recast
legislative acts that have been amended.
A particular problem with Union acts is the number of times they have to be corrected after adoption by means of
corrigenda published in the Official Journal for one or more language versions.When an act contains errors, an
incorrect text applies until the corrected version is published, and then the new version applies retroactively from
the date of the adoption of the act, which may be months or even years in the past. Users have to familiarise
themselves with whole text twice and there is still a risk that a user will rely on the wrong text because it is still in
the Official Journal or database. It is not easy to ascertain the extent of the problem because corrigenda do not
appear as a separate searchable category in EUR-Lex. A search in EUR-Lex for acts published in 2011 of which the
Parliament was the author showed 48 regulations but 28 corrigenda to regulations and 22 directives but 30
corrigenda to directives.At times the numbers are alarming. In 2004 the Union institutions rushed to publish a large
number of acts before the accession of 10 new Member States made it necessary to work in another 9 official
languages. Evidently there was not time to prepare them as thoroughly as usual and after accession no less than 20
issues of the Official Journal containing 2897 pages had to be republished in their entirety in all the official
languages.Again shortly after the accession of Bulgaria and Romania in 2007, it was necessary to republish in all
languages as corrigenda the acts contained in 14 Official Journals totaling 3225 pages.It is a cause of concern so
many corrigenda to Union legislation are necessary, especially as sometimes, under the innocuous heading of
corrigendum, an entire act is reprinted in all the official languages. There is a danger that citizens and business
operators will lose their trust in Union law, and indeed one commentator has described the issue as a ‘quicksand’.

Consolidation is a mechanical process whereby the provisions of a legal act (the articles and any annexes but not the
recitals) and all amendments and corrections to them are brought together in a single new text. The resulting
consolidated text is for information only and has no legal status. The original act remains in force. The
Publications Office carries out the consolidation of Union legislation in all the official languages under the control
of the inter-institutional Working Group on Consolidation. It publishes its consolidated texts on EUR-LEX.
Although the consolidated texts are not authentic, they are a valuable tool for all users of Union law. They also
serve as the basis for the work of codifying and recasting.
Codification is the process whereby a new act is adopted which brings together in a single text all the provisions of
an existing act and all amendments and corrections already made to those provisions, without making any new
amendment. The new act includes a complete and coherent statement of reasons. When the new act is adopted
the original act and all the amendments to it are repealed. In 1994 the Parliament, the Council and the
Commission agreed on an accelerated working method for official codification of legislative text. The Commission
proposal is examined in the Parliament solely by the Legal Affairs Committee and in the Council solely by a special
“Codoification” Working Group and is subject to the “I/A items” procedure in COREPER. In 2001 the Commission
adopted a Communication on codification which indicated that 27 codified texts had so far been adopted replacing
280 pre-existing acts, with a further 11 in the pipeline. It is meant
to make Union law more accessible and to reduce the burden of translating the acquis for new Member States. It
noted: ‘According to Commission estimates, the total acquis communautaire (secondary legislation)
currently comprises about 80 000 Official Journal pages (all acts regardless of the institution adopting them).
With about 2 500 new pieces of legislation (representing some 5 000 Official Journal pages) generated each
year, this figure will increase to some 90 000 pages in 2003, if the existing legislative procedures are maintained.
According to Commission estimates, it would be possible to reduce the acquis by about 30 000 to 35 000 pages if
it were codified. Some 70 000 pages of the acquis could benefit from this operation (some 10 000 pages never
having been amended and therefore not being codifiable)’. However the actual results proved disappointing, partly
because of the need to produce the texts in all the official languages and also because, whenever further
amendments became necessary to an act being codified, the procedure had to be restarted from the beginning. After
completion of the exercise in 2009 the Commission reported: ‘The Commission has finalised a total of 229
codification acts so far. Of these, 142 acts have been codified, adopted and published in the Official Journal (102
Commission acts and 40 acts of the European Parliament and the Council). These 142 codified acts replace 729
previous acts, corresponding to about 1 300 pages of the Official Journal. 87 acts are still pending before the Council
and the European Parliament’.
Recasting is the process whereby a new act is adopted which brings together in a single text all the provisions
of an existing act and all amendments to those provisions. It differs from codification in that new amendments are
also made. The Commission prepares a proposal and submits it to the legislative authority. When the new act is
adopted, the original act and all the amendments to it are repealed. In 2001 the Parliament, the Council and the
Commission adopted an Interinstitutional Agreement on a more structured use of the recasting technique for legal
acts. In a recast the part of the text that corresponds to the existing provisions as already amended is treated as a
codification and the legislative authority undertakes not to reopen discussion on those parts. The parts that are
new are subject to the normal legislative procedure.
Simplification and repeal
Concern at the increasing volume of Union legislation led to a commitment from the Union institutions to simplify
and repeal legislation wherever possible. The rule has been formally laid down that: ‘The adoption of a new act
should result in the express repeal of any act or provision rendered inapplicable or redundant by virtue of the new
act’. In addition, independently of the adoption of a new act, the acquis is being screened by staff of the
Commission Legal Service to identify acts that are no longer applied and to repeal them. The Commission has,
since adopting its strategy for the simplification of the regulatory environment in 2005, run a rolling
programme for simplifying and improving existing Union law identifying areas where action should be taken
with input from stakeholders. It reports regularly on its programme and progress made. It notes that: ‘By
simplifying and codifying legislation, the Commission has reduced the acquis by almost 10% since 2005 - about 1
300 legal acts and 7 800 pages of the Official Journal have been removed from the Community statute book’.
Despite all the efforts made the acquis continues to grow. In 2001 it was estimated at some 80 000 pages.
Unofficial estimates of the current size of the acquis in connection with the translation of all binding Union law

into Croatian put it at some 130 000 pages. The official statistics of acts adopted each year over the last ten
years show that the number of regulations adopted each year has fallen almost every year while the figures for
directives and decisions are more erratic but still show a downward trend, although less marked than for
regulations (See Figure 1). It should be noted that in all but one of those years the figure of 2 500 new pieces of
legislation a year mentioned in the Communication on Codification was exceeded, usually by a large margin.

2.Fraud with respect to civil status
The International Commission on Civil Status (ICCS) is an intergovernmental organisation of which 15 states are at
present members: Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland,
Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
The objectives of the Commission as laid down in its founding instruments and Rules of
Procedure are as follows:
‘The aim of the International Commission on Civil Status (ICCS) is to facilitate international cooperation in civil
status matters and to further the exchange of information between registration officials. To this end, it carries out
all studies and work aimed at issuing recommendations and drafting conventions so as to harmonise the provisions
in force in member states in relation to the status and capacity of persons, to the family and to nationality and to
improve the operations of civil status departments within those states. It also compiles and keeps up to date a
documentation on legislation and case-law setting out the law of its member states in the above-mentioned matters
and provides, on the basis of this documentation, information to the authorities referred to in Article II of the Bern
Protocol of 25 September 1950.It coordinates its activities in the above-mentioned areas with those of
other international bodies and facilitates relationships with organisations working in the area of civil status.It may
also, within its areas of competence, collaborate with non-member states in order to facilitate cooperation between
these states and its member states’
It is within this general framework that the ICCS has, since the Berlin General Assembly of
1992, been giving serious thought to the problem of fraud in civil status documents. It was accordingly decided to set
up a sub-committee with one representative from each ICCS member country.
Types of fraud and the reasons for them
The replies of member states revealed two major sources of fraud: false declarations by the persons concerned to the
registration officer and the submission of falsified civil status documents from another country. False declarations
concern, in decreasing order of importance, birth certificates, marriage certificates and instruments of
acknowledgement of paternity. The importance of birth certificates is emphasised particularly as these are documents
that are used as the basis of information included in other documents such as passports and identity cards. In birth
certificates, the date of birth and the identity of the person are the details most frequently falsified. Fraud concerning
marriage certificates, which is steadily increasing, can take various forms, such as a false declaration of unmarried
status or of the dissolution of a previous marriage, the falsification of marriage certificates, decrees of divorce,
identity cards and passports presented with a view to marriage, and, lastly, the feigning of an intention to marry.
Fraud concerning acknowledgements of paternity usually involves a person declaring himself to be the father of a child
who is not biologically his, for the purpose of facilitating the reuniting of the family or evading the rules relating to
adoption.In terms of submission of forged foreign documents, numerous member states mentioned difficulties arising
from the use of documents from countries with an unreliable organisation of civil status, which encourages a
lucrative business of issuing forged documents. This very important type of fraud is essentially concerned with birth
Methods of combating fraud
The study shows that ICCS member states use four main types of method to combat fraud:
a) steps that enable registration officers to verify the declared event and the probative value of the civil status
document or to check the binding status of certain amending judgments as well as the capacity to marry and the
lawfulness of the residence of the foreign spouse;
b) steps empowering the registration officer to refuse to draw up a record;
c) preventative or a posteriori civil penalties as well as penal or administrative sanctions have been prescribed to
punish fraudulent misconduct;
d) amendments to legislation to make fraud less attractive.


Events declared may be verified by requiring an ad hoc certificate (for example, certifying a birth in the case of
acknowledgement). There is a difference in the degree of verification procedures carried out by registration officers: in
some countries, verification is generally limited to the form of the documents submitted and the authenticity of
signatures, while in others the registration officer is authorised to verify the existence and the content of the foreign
document by contacting their diplomatic or consular representatives or by contacting the foreign authorities
The verifications carried out by the registration officer prior to marriage are dealt with below, in the section of this
report which focuses on the study published by the ICCS in 2010. In certain countries, the registration officer
may refuse to register the civil status event brought to his knowledge, for example an acknowledgement which
would be contrary to the rules of private international law or to public policy. In certain countries, the
registration officer also has the power to refuse to celebrate a marriage, an issue also discussed below. If fraud is
detected, member states possess an arsenal of civil, penal or administrative sanctions which are generally similar in
nature. Note that penal sanctions are more severe when the perpetrator of the fraud is a registration officer and that
special offences have been defined to punish the non-observance by such officers of regulations concerning the
drawing up of official documents. Certain countries have also reformed their legislation with a view to discouraging
the use of forged documents or bogus marriages for the purpose of benefiting from attractive legal provisions
governing acquisition of nationality or entry and residence. There are also regulations which state that nationality
should no longer be acquired by the sole fact of the marriage or by the sole fact of acknowledgement of paternity, and
others which extend the duration of the period of cohabitation required for the foreign spouse to be able to acquire
nationality by marriage. Also the conditions attached to the granting of a residency permit to a foreign spouse or the
extension of such a permit have been reinforced.
Bogus marriages and marriages of convenience in ICCS Member States
The aim of the 2010 study was to summarise the problem of bogus marriages, one of the issues that was touched upon
in the study published in 1996 that seems to be increasingly significant. The extent of this phenomenon is difficult to
quantify since, aside Belgium which has a few figures, none of the member States is able to offer any official statistics.
These unions, concluded, not with the usual aims of marriage, but in obtaining certain advantages generally associated
with marriage, are drawing the attention of state authorities in most ICCS member states. It is noteworthy that
since 1996, in more and more states, legislation has begun to appear concerning the registration of certain couples
outside of marriage, these partnerships often entailing conditions that are more favourable than for ordinary unions.
However, it has been decided not to systematically extend the study into this area.It is true that certain effects linked
to marriage by different state legislation can be quite attractive and constitute an incitement to this type of fraud,
particularly concerning marriages between a European Union national and a non-European Union national (3.2). In
order to combat this practice, measures have been adopted, some preventative (3.3), some a posteriori (3.4),
one of the major difficulties being to avoid infringing on the freedom to marry, as it is guaranteed to all by
Article 23 of the International Pact relating to civil and political rights, and by Article 12 of the European Convention
on Human Rights. The desirability of European Union states for numerous nationals of countries outside the Union
has led European institutions to become preoccupied with the regulation of immigration, and to coordinate their
management policy in this respect, most notably by Community Directive No. 2003/86/CE of 22 September 2003
relating to the right to family reunification. Excepting the United Kingdom, Denmark and Ireland where it does not
apply, this directive aims to establish the conditions of execution of this right for nationals of third-party states
legally residing within the territory of a member state. Consequently, it is applicable to nationals of non-Union states
when they are in possession of a residency permit for a duration of one year at least in one of the European Union
states and they are able to establish themselves there in the long term. It tends to allow them to be joined by their
spouse and their children under the age of majority, and each state may adopt specific provisions in order to
authorise the arrival of first-degree ascendants in direct line, single adult children, or unmarried partners. On the
other hand, the directive does not apply to nationals of third-party countries who claim refugee status and whose
application is being considered, or to members of the family of a European Union citizen. Within its field of
application, the directive entails proving identity and kinship between sponsor and the relatives he intends to
welcome to his home. In the absence of official documents, the interested party may be offered the possibility of
DNA tests; however, solutions vary from state to state.Depending on the legislation, the provisions in force may
concern entry and residency first and foremost, and beyond this, acquisition of nationality. Marrying a national
is not enough, in any ICCS member state, for a foreign spouse to acquire nationality ipso jure, but privileged
access to nationality is frequently provided. Marrying a national also makes it easier for a foreign spouse to enter into
the territory or become a resident, as it does in other cases for a future spouse, a registered partner or a future
registered partner.


EXAMPLES: Entry and residence.

An unlimited residency permit is not issued to a foreign spouse until after three years of living together (B) (D);


The right of residence may be refused or withdrawn if it is established that a fraud has been committed, in
particular if the marriage is entered into with the sole aim of obtaining entry and residency for the foreign national
(B) (I) (Lux) (Pol) (CH);


Residency may be revoked if there is a lack of actual conjugal living (B);


A residency permit may be issued to a foreigner married to a national for at least three years, as long as conjugal
life has not ceased and as long as, where the marriage has been celebrated abroad, it was entered into the civil
status registers (F);


When applying for a residency permit, the foreign spouse must sign an agreement which determines certain
objectives for integration, to be met during the validity period of the permit (I);


A residency permit for family reasons is revoked immediately if it is proven that there is no effective cohabitation
after marriage (I);


The residency permit is issued only if the marriage was celebrated or recognised in the country concerned and
entered into the population registry, and if the spouses cohabit and have income for the foreseeable future (NL);


The obligation for certain foreign nationals who wish to marry within the country to obtain a special visa or a
certificate of approval (UK) (these provisions have been ruled by national courts and by the European Court of
Human rights as contrary in some respects to Articles 12 (right to marry) and 14 (prohibition of
discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights;


A residency permit is issued, and may have its validity prolonged, as long as the foreigner and the national
are living in the same household (CH).

EXAMPLES: Nationality

A foreigner married to a national may be naturalised easily if he or she has been residing in the country
for a given period and if he or she has shared marital life with the national for a minimum number of years (B)
(D) (I) (UK) ;


Acquisition of nationality conditional on the person concerned having legal residency for a given period (B) (F)


Increase in the time period during which the Government may implement a procedure of opposition to an
acquisition of nationality through marriage (F);


Discontinuing communal life within twelve months of registering an application for naturalisation leads to a
presumption of fraud (F).

As well as the existence of a posteriori sanctions provided by numerous legislations, there are also, in several states,
measures of preventative control.
EXAMPLES: Measures of preventative control

The civil registrar may refuse to celebrate the marriage if he has grounds to believe that it is a marriage of
convenience, the illegality of the foreigner’s residency being a possible indication of such a marriage (D);


Obligation on the part of the civil registrar to refuse to celebrate a marriage if all the conditions are not met:
the control carried out by the civil registrar includes a control aiming to establish that the planned marriage is not
a marriage of convenience; he may make use of an exchange of information between civil registrars, since a central
system based on exchange of information regarding foreigners who are illegally residing in the country has been
organised(B) ;



Recognition of an authentic record of a marriage celebrated abroad as long as its validity is established
under the country’s International Private Law Code (B);


Obligation on the part of the civil registrar to verify the existence of real consent (E);


Publication of banns, or the celebration of marriage in case the need for such a publication is waived,
when two conditions are met: an application file must be put together (copies of the relevant civil-status
documents and identity documents) and the future spouses must previously undergo an interview with the mayor
or a municipal officer, or, if abroad, a diplomatic or consular agent; in the event of serious doubts on the
matrimonial intentions of the spouses, the civil registrar will alert the Public Prosecutor who may stay the
celebration or oppose the marriage (F);


Tightening of controls (including the interview with the spouses) in the case of the marriage of a national
abroad (F);


Obligation to register the marriage certificate and strengthening of controls when transcription is requested


Foreigners wishing to marry in the country must produce a document (the content of which is governed by
detailed rules) certifying the legality of his or her residency in the country (I);


Obligation, in the case of a marriage or registered partnership concluded with a foreigner, to present a
declaration relating to the legality of the residency of the future spouse or partner (NL);


If the civil registrar suspects a marriage of convenience, he will refuse to celebrate it
(with the right of the person concerned to appeal to the court) (NL);


Possibility for the civil registrar, in the event of doubt concerning the checks made in view of recognising a
marriage concluded abroad, to refuse to enter the marriage into the registry (NL);


The civil registrar may refuse to celebrate an abusive marriage that a foreigner intends to enter into with the sole
purpose of evading the rules governing entry and residence (CH).

When it is established that a marriage of convenience has been concluded, various types of penalty (civil, penal,
administrative) may be applied in most cases.
Civil penalties: in the majority of member states a marriage of convenience may be annulled by legal decision,
in particular at the request of the Public Prosecutor.
Penal sanctions: in cases of bogus marriage several states apply general provisions on false documents, while others
also provide for specific sanctions (imprisonment or a fine).
Administrative penalties: in cases of marriage of convenience, various measures may be applied, including withdrawal
or non-renewal of the residency permit and, if required, the forfeiture of nationality.
It can be seen that the majority of member states take immediate action against fraudulent marriages, without waiting
for a legal decision of annulment.
The subject matter is politically very sensitive, and the margin of appreciation left to the states is reduced by their
international engagements. However, no ICCS member states have mentioned any decisions or opinions according to
which their legislation would be contrary to these engagements, with the exception of the United Kingdom. Generally
speaking, there is less risk of infringing on the provisions which safeguard the right to marry if, instead of
refusing to celebrate a suspected bogus marriage, the advantages enjoyed by the parties concerned are withdrawn, if
those suspicions are found to be justified. The last meeting of the ICCS working group on fraud concluded that
combating marriages or partnerships of convenience and forced marriage is a major concern for many states who


continue however to comply with the requirement to respect and protect the right to marry. In particular the following
examples have been cited:

In Belgium: draft legislation increasing the time period before a marriage certificate is registered, specifically to
allow time to check the foreign civil status documents and to rule on whether the marriage is valid; strengthening
of criminal sanctions for bogus marriage; draft legislation on forfeiture of Belgian nationality acquired by fraud in
the event of the annulment of a marriage of convenience.


In Italy: annulment by the Constitutional Council of the provision of a 2009 law making marriage conditional on
the legality of residency.


In Switzerland: decision of the Federal Court interpreting a new law requiring a foreign national to prove legality
of residency before getting married: a residency permit should be issued to the foreign national when the planned
marriage is genuine and not a bogus marriage; new text making forced or bogus marriage a crime and obliging the
civil registrar to report this infringement and to halt the celebration of the marriage while awaiting a criminal

The working group also noted that states continue to campaign against documentary fraud but their work is
sometimes restricted by individual liberties. In this context the following has been reported:
- In France: decree of 10 February 2011 introducing a secure verification procedure for personal data contained in
civil status documents: creation of a platform enabling direct and electronic contact between a requesting
authority and the civil registrar holding the documents, launched on an experimental basis; Law of 27
March 2012 on the protection of identity covering, among other things, the electronic national identity card
including biometric data: the Constitutional Council on creating a national database to safeguard the issue of
documents and to combat fraud and identity theft has ruled that this would be a disproportionate infringement of
the right to private life in view of the sensitivity of the data, the scope of the database and the ease of consultation.

In Turkey: reminder of the existence of a central repository of civil status data;
introduction in 2013 of a national identity card incorporating biometric data.


In Poland: existence of secure national identity card, soon to be improved.


In Belgium: proposal to modify the consular code to enable verification of a foreign document even when
legalised by a consular agent or an expert, with the result stated on the document, at the cost of the person
concerned if fraud is substantiated.

3. Family Law in the EU
This paper assesses the legal bases that may be used to create harmonised rules for the EU citizens residing in, and
moving within, the EU on the basis of the current objectives set in this field, in particular improved access to justice
through increased legal certainty and the removal of legal barriers. Such aims can optimally be met through the
exercise of internal rather than external competence. Yet the adoption of internal measures in the area of family law
has been much slower than in other civil / commercial matters. This is in part because family law measures are
normally, and by derogation to Art 81(2) TFEU, to be adopted by special legislative procedure (with unanimity at the
Council and consultation with the European Parliament). The latter is linked to the particular sensitivity of such
questions as well as the strength of national traditions and cultures in this field.Existing acts do not cover all core
areas of family law and, where they exist, are marked by fragmentation and differentiation, much of which can be
linked to the legal basis chosen and associated legislative procedure used.Consideration is therefore given to the
extent to which use of the passerelle (Art 81(3) second indent) or recourse to enhanced cooperation might be
considered with a view to facilitating and accelerating the adoption of family law measures.
Bridging or ‘passerelle’ clauses exist in the Treaties, which enable shifts between legislative procedures and voting
requirements. One such clause relates to family law measures. According to Art 81(3) the Council may unanimously
and after consulting the European Parliament decide that a cross-border family law measure be adopted by the
ordinary legislative procedure. Any discussion of the passerelle requires clarification of “measures concerning family
law with cross-border implications”. The exact scope of this category is uncertain and debatable, as can be


exemplified by the different legal bases used to develop the Maintenance and Succession Regulations. Whilst it is
not contested that issues relating to both maintenance and succession display a mixed character combining aspects of
family law and of the law of obligations or of property law, their treatment has been very different. The mixedness of
maintenance was used to justify an attempted recourse to the passerelle. This failed and Council Regulation (EC) No
4/2009 was adopted by special legislative procedure. By contrast, the mixité of the law of succession was denied at
the outset allowing for the adoption of the Regulation on the basis of the ordinary legislative procedure. Bearing in
mind that the use of the passerelle is predicated upon a unanimity vote in Council as well as acceptance by
national parliaments, it is clear that the mechanism can only be engaged if States are satisfied that the content of the
measure contemplated will be acceptable. This will be the case if not only the scope of the instrument is itself
uncontentious but also if the rules contained therein remain neutral. Such preconditions may not easily be met
given the declared aims of EU action in the field of family law.
Enhanced cooperation
Art 20 TEU authorizes enhanced cooperation in accordance with the requirements set out in Arts 326-334 TFEU. This
enables a group of Member States to establish measures between themselves (using the institutions and mechanisms
of the TEU). Bearing in mind that Regulations adopted through enhanced cooperation are by definition unable to
achieve the aims and objectives assigned to EU action in the sphere of family law as fully as EU-wide measures, is
there merit in promoting this mechanism for family law making in the EU? Arguably from the perspective of
ambitious objective setting, it may be appropriate to achieve some level of harmonisation among a number of
participating States rather than none. However, consideration must be given to the impact that enhanced cooperation
may have in the area concerned, not only for the European citizens benefiting from it, but also for those who will
not. Furthermore there needs to be a clear understanding of the “last resort” nature of enhanced cooperation.
Other categories of persons
As regards persons who are not EU citizens taking advantage of their right to free movement, the position is less clear.
First, it must be recalled that rules adopted for the benefit of EU citizens residing in the EU will benefit other
categories of persons.
Indeed, through the principle of non discrimination, family law rules will apply
to all EU residents, irrespective of their nationality. In addition, the choice and operation of connecting
factors in the context of family, rather than individual, disputes implies that these rules may even benefit some EU
citizens residing in third States.However, the situation of other EU citizens residing outside the EU may need to be
addressed too if the EU is to meet its objectives, including the requirements set forth in Art
3(5) TEU. Possible recourse may be had to the external competence provisions (Arts 216 ff TFEU) in this context.
Aims of European family law
Aside from the traditional aims that the harmonisation of private international law pursues, notably in terms of
increased legal certainty, achievement of justice, avoidance of limping relationships and of forum shopping, the
development of European family law is also shaped by a number of European objectives. The adoption of European
family law measures contributes to the creation of the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ) in Europe. The
AFSJ is an area without internal borders which benefits EU citizens and their free movement (Arts 3(2) TEU & 67(1)
TFEU). In the field of justice, the AFSJ implies a facilitated access to justice for EU citizens, particularly through
mutual recognition (Art 67(4)). The Treaties also provide for general aims, such as the promotion of peace,
European values and the well-being of Europeans (Art 3(1) TEU) and contain a clear prohibition of any discrimination
on the grounds of nationality (Art 18 TFEU). They further define specific aims in relation to third States. According to
Art 3(5) TEU: “In its relations with the wider world, the Union shall uphold and promote its values and interests and
contribute to the protection of its citizens. It shall contribute to peace, […] mutual respect among peoples, free and fair
trade, […] and the protection of human rights, in particular the rights of the child […]”.The immediate aims of future
EU action, including in the family law sphere, have been adopted in 2009 in the third multiannual programme for the
AFSJ. In this, the primary focus is said to be on the “interests and needs of citizens” as well as persons for whom the
Union has responsibility. The priority in the area of justice is facilitation of access to justice and elimination of the
remaining barriers to the recognition of legal decisions in other Member States. This means furthering the
implementation of mutual recognition, including in areas not yet covered.Further, as Europe has a role to play in a
globalised world, it should provide “greater opportunities for citizens of the Union to work and do business with
countries across the world” and there should be an increase in the EU’s international presence in the legal field. This
includes participation in international Conventions of interest and development of new multilateral or, if necessary,


bilateral instrument.
Realising European family law aims
Two situations must be distinguished.
At the heart of EU action is the position of EU citizens taking advantage of their right to free movement, for whom
European family law rules should remove legal borders and other barriers (thus promoting free movement) and
facilitate access to justice. Of course, behind these integrationist terms hide more traditional aims of private
international law harmonisation. Indeed improved access to justice implies more legal certainty and less forum
shopping, while the removal of legal barriers (notably through mutual recognition) should signal the end of limping
situations. In the light of these aims, Part 3 therefore addresses the legal bases that may be used to create rules for the
EU citizens residing in, and moving within, the EU.
EU citizens residing in, and moving within the EU
The current institutional approach is based on the idea that the aims of European family law as regards EU citizens
moving within the EU are primarily met through the adoption of European Regulations rather than the conclusion of
international instruments. This is because the level of mutual trust within the European area is higher than between
Member States and third States. As a result mutual recognition can be more complete, whilst access to justice and the
removal of legal barriers can go further within, rather than outwith, the EU.Despite the importance of family
matters for the everyday life of European citizens the adoption of internal measures in the area of family law has been
much slower than in other civil / commercial matters. This is in part because of the procedure and voting
requirements applicable in this area. Consideration is therefore given to the extent to which use of the Art 81 TFEU
passerelle or recourse to enhanced cooperation might be considered with a view to facilitating and accelerating the
adoption of family law measures.
According to Art 81 judicial cooperation in civil matters should normally be adopted under the ordinary legislative
procedure (Art 81(2)), except for “measures concerning family law with cross-border implications” which should be
established under a special legislative procedure with unanimity at the Council and consultation with the European
Parliament (Art 81(3)). This specific treatment of family law is justified by the particular sensitivity of such questions
as well as the strength of national traditions and cultures in this field.
Shortcomings of the special legislative procedure
The use of the consultation procedure may first be questioned as regards the democratic principle in an area that is so
important to European citizens. Second, the rule of unanimity entails certain disadvantages, the marks of which are
borne by current European family law rules. Unanimity considerably slows down the adoption of new measures as any
State may block or threaten to block a measure to ensure the protection of a particular national interest. The fate of
the first Rome III proposal illustrates this situation: no consensus could be achieved despite two years of arduous
negotiations primarily because one of the 24. Member States concerned could not accept the possible application
of foreign divorce laws that would be less liberal than its own. In addition, unanimous consent may in some cases be
achieved only at the price of compromises which may dilute or contravene the policy objectives underlying the
measure. Art 13 of Regulation (EU) 1259/2010 is the prime example of a provision which was introduced to
satisfy the demand of one of the participating Member States (Malta), despite the fact that this provision runs
counter to the general approach of the instrument to incidental questions and one of its very aims (better access to
justice). It could thus be argued that Art 81(3) may make it more difficult for a measure to achieve its stated objectives
or indeed the general aims of European family law fully. These disadvantages could be partly overcome if use were
made of the bridging or “passerelle” clause relating to family law measures.
Dangers and benefits of the use of passerelle
According to Art 81(3) the Council may unanimously and after consulting the European Parliament decide that
“aspects of family law with cross-border implications” be adopted by the ordinary legislative procedure, which implies
greater inter-institutional dialogue, with QMV voting in Council (Art 16(3) TEU).
Should the resulting reduction of the role of Member States in an area as sensitive and as culturally coloured as


family law be resisted on the basis that the Union is supposed to develop the AFSJ with respect for the different legal
systems and traditions of the Member States (Art 67(1))?
The passerelle’s weakening of the sovereignty of Member States should not be exaggerated. The very use of the
passerelle requires a unanimous vote in Council and approval by national parliaments, any of which can veto
recourse to the mechanism (Art 81(3)). If the proposed measure is perceived to threaten a particularly sensitive
Member State policy, that State will have the possibility to prevent the use of the passerelle either through the
opposition of its representative in Council or via its national parliament.
Are there any areas of family law where the passerelle should or should not be considered?
The text of Art 81(3) suggests that only certain “aspects” of “family law” might be suitable for use of the ordinary
procedure. However both the exact scope of “family law” and the identification of such “aspects” thereof that might be
suitable for the passerelle are debatable, as can be exemplified by the different legal bases used in the Maintenance
and Succession Regulations, and matrimonial or quasi matrimonial property dossiers. All these areas of law display a
mixed character combining elements of family law and of the law of obligations / property law, yet their treatment has
been very different. The mixedness of maintenance was used to justify a proposed recourse to the passerelle – this
failed. Use of the passerelle was not though considered in the context of the matrimonial and quasi matrimonial
property proposals which are now progressing under Art 81(3). By contrast, the mixité of the law of succession was
(controversially35) denied at the outset and adoption of Regulation (EU) 650/2012 simply proceeded on the basis of

Art 81(2). Issues of political strategy aside, this overview shows that characterisation of a particular area of law
exhibiting links with both family and civil law is at best uncertain. The classification of an “aspect” as falling within
“family law” and the subsequent assessment of its suitability for the passerelle should not depend on a superficial
thus questionable characterisation of it being “primarily family related” or not. It may indeed be that undeniably
family law areas do not raise particularly sensitive questions, whilst mixed areas of law might indeed be more
politically sensitive.
The identification of those ‘aspects’ suitable for the passerelle should first depend on the exact scope of the intended
measure – e.g. in the current context use of the passerelle would not be feasible for a measure encompassing
the validity and effect of same sex unions (an issue which divides Member States) but might be acceptable for
measures on
the validity and effect of heterosexual marriages where current Member States positions are much less contrasted.
The suitability of the use of the passerelle and its unanimous acceptance will further depend on the content of the
proposed measure36. In this the passerelle may be more or less suitable depending on the extent to which an area is
already partially harmonised, for example through the case law of the European Court or an international
instrument38. Furthermore the use of the ordinary legislative procedure should be facilitated where the proposed EU

rules embody principles already accepted by (or acceptable to) all Member States. In other words the approval of a
passerelle for a specific measure is likely to depend on the extent to which the core principles underlying that measure
actually mirror existing national approaches. Nevertheless, approval even as regards apparently “neutral” law
reform cannot be taken for granted simply because of the declared respect of the Union for the different legal systems
and traditions of the Member States (Art 67(1)). In this it must be acknowledged that alongside the European aims
mentioned above, Regulations may implicitly have certain substantive aims or effects. The most notable example in
this regard is the liberal approach to divorce inherent in both Regulations (EC) 2201/2003 and (EU) 1259/2010.
Use of the Art 81(3) passerelle should be made where the scope of the measure and its proposed content are both
uncontentious and “neutral” (as defined above). Such preconditions will not easily be met where the integrationist aim
of a proposed measure is particularly marked (i.e. deviates from classical private international law objectives) or
where additional (possibly unsaid) substantive aims permeate it. A proposal to resort to the passerelle should be
carefully reasoned and justified in substance if it is to stand a chance and avoid blind nationalistic reflexes.
Enhanced Cooperation
The enhanced cooperation mechanism was first activated in 2010, when 14 EU Member States harmonised their rules
on the law applicable to divorce and legal separation using the special legislative procedure. Enhanced cooperation
is based on the “hope that it will then be a catalyst and that other Member States will subscribe to such initiatives”.
This hope has indeed started to materialise with Lithuania recently joining the group of participating Rome III States.
This section considers whether enhanced cooperation should be used in future family law measures. The Treaties


allow Member States to establish enhanced cooperation between themselves under the conditions set out in Art 20
TEU & Arts 326-334 TFEU in the field of European family law as it is an area of “non-exclusive” Union competence
“covered by the Treaties”. At least 9 Member States must participate and the enhanced cooperation measure, adopted
as a last resort, must further the Union’s objectives, protect its interests and reinforce the integration process (Art 20
TEU). It must also comply with the Treaties and Union law (Art 326 TFEU) and respect the competence, rights and
obligations of non-participating Member States (Art 327 TFEU).
Authorisation to proceed with an enhanced cooperation is granted by the Council on a proposal from the Commission
and after obtaining the consent of the Parliament (Art 329 TFEU). All Member States participate in the Council vote
with enhanced cooperation being granted by QMV. The adoption of an enhanced cooperation measure on crossborder family law would then proceed under the special legislative procedure, unless the participating Member States
decide unanimously to activate the specific bridging clause of Art 333(2) TFEU. This slightly differs from the Art
81(3) passerelle considered above in that its use does not require a proposal from the Commission and does not
involve any control by national parliaments. Enhanced cooperation measures cannot by definition attain the aims of
European family law (identified above in part 2) as fully as EU-wide Regulations. The removal of legal barriers and
increased access to justice are only achieved fully where the family situation is “internal” to the circle of
participating States. The benefit of an enhanced cooperation measure may also extend to some family situations
with links to both participating and non-participating States (though this will depend on the scope of the individual
measure45). However they will obviously not be achieved if the situation has links only to non participating
States. Should a limited cross-border family law harmonisation by way of enhanced cooperation be promoted on the
basis that it is better than no harmonisation at all? An affirmative answer seems at first glance to be the premise of the
current Treaties’ provisions on enhanced cooperation but it should be remembered that the very activation of
this mechanism requires a proposal which is at the discretion of the Commission and must be approved by both the
Council and European Parliament. Leaving aside the political dimensions of the question of the opportunity of
enhanced cooperation, the answer, from a legal point of view, chiefly depends on the demonstration that enhanced
cooperation in this particular area is adopted “as a last resort” and does “further the objectives of the Union”.

Last resort

Enhanced cooperation can never be the first choice; it can only proceed if it is established as the second best
solution. The Treaties however do not define what is meant by last resort, simply requiring that the objectives
of that particular cooperation “cannot be attained within a reasonable period by the Union as a whole”. There may
be situations in which the particular objective of a measure could be achieved via several, equally suitable, alternative
policy options. For example the reduction of forum shopping in a particular area may be said to be achievable either
via the introduction or amendment of jurisdiction rules or, alternatively, the harmonisation of choice of law rules. If
the proposed measure chooses policy option 1 and negotiations of this instrument fail, could an enhanced cooperation
measure based on policy option 1 really be considered as the second best solution to achieve (part of) the goal
of reduction of forum shopping? Or should the adoption of an alternative proposal for an EU-wide instrument
based on policy option 2 not be first attempted? And would the answer be the same even if policy option 2 could not
quite attain the desired objective as optimally as option 1?
These questions express the underlying tension within enhanced cooperation: should the priority in European family
law be to achieve more for some EU citizens or to achieve less for virtually all of them? To answer them it should be
recalled that Art 20 TEU refers to two distinct objectives: the objectives of a particular measure and those of the
Union. Art 20(2) imposes that enhanced cooperation be considered only where the objectives of a specific measure of
cooperation cannot be attained within a reasonable time by the Union as a whole. However these particular
objectives are objectives that were themselves chosen to further greater objectives, the objectives of the Union (Art 20
(1)). Arguably the Union’s objectives in the field of European family law might be better served by EU-wide measures
with slightly lesser aims than a combination of some EU-wide measures and some measures of enhanced cooperation.
This is linked to the consequences of enhanced cooperation in European family law.

Impact of enhanced cooperation in cross-border family law and objectives of the Union

First, in general terms, there is no guarantee that (all) non-participating States will, in time, join the group of
participating States. By contrast there is a serious risk that enhanced cooperation in one area will signal the start of
greater variable geometry either because it might lead to enhanced cooperation in adjacent areas (for example
Regulation (EU) 1259/2010 may in time lead to the abolition of exequatur of divorce decisions within the group of
participating States) or, more generally, because States will have fewer inhibitions to resist political pressures
towards consensus as they realise that their veto will not necessarily prevent other States to agree measures between
themselves. Yet the perspective of an ever greater number of enhanced cooperations appears difficult to reconcile with
the idea that States have conferred competence on the Union to “attain objectives they have in common”, with the aim


of creating “an ever closer Union among the peoples of Europe” (Art 1 TEU). Second, one of the aims of legislation in
European family law is the elimination of the remaining internal borders within the area of justice. Enhanced
cooperation does not remove these borders but makes them variable as enhanced cooperation is by definition
adopted by a set of Member States that would vary from one measure to the next. Enhanced cooperation
does not create concentric circles that would always be the same and where inner circle States would participate in a
more fully achieved AFSJ than outer circle States. Rather, if used more than once, enhanced cooperation would lead
to the formation of eccentric and partially overlapping circles, the location and size of which vary with each measure,
bearing in mind that these measures themselves also have a different personal and material scope. The
multiplication of differentiated approaches and the resulting confusion it brings for EU citizens would be antithetical
to the objective of (increased) legal certainty without which an area of true justice aimed for by the EU cannot exist.
Consideration must be given to the impact that enhanced cooperation has not only for the European citizens
benefiting from it in one area but also for those who will not, as well as its likely consequences for European family
law. Enhanced cooperation can be seen as one step towards the achievement of the objectives of the Union only if it
is considered strictly as a last resort (where it cannot equally be seen as a missed opportunity to achieve slightly lesser
objectives for all), and on an exceptional basis.

4. A diplomatic iniquity
Legal immunity is an anachronism. Embassy staff should no longer be able to dodge justice. From mass murder to the
congestion charge, gambling debts, shop-lifting and sex trafficking, thousand of London residents are utterly exempt.
They have "diplomatic immunity", and this is not confined to diplomats: it covers most embassy officials, their spouses
and children. This week the foreign secretary revealed the latest list of "friendly" countries, from Sierra Leone to Saudi
Arabia, that have played this "don't go to jail at all" card to save their embassy staff from prosecution for serious
offences. It is time to reassert the rule of law over a class of persons who are a lot less important than they think. The
notion that representatives of foreign powers should have special protection goes back to the herald on Homer's
battlefields. Immunity for diplomats served a purpose in the cold war, when they risked blackmail and honeytraps and
might otherwise have faced false charges in rigged courts. For this reason the Vienna Convention in 1961 guaranteed the
total inviolability of embassy premises and personnel. But a heavy price has been paid for that impunity: guns and drugs
have often been smuggled in diplomatic bags, and at one point Scotland Yard estimated that 40% of London's
shoplifting and parking offences were committed by the wives and cars of diplomats. More seriously, there was the
Libyan diplomat who murdered PC Yvonne Fletcher: he was escorted to Heathrow, rather than to the Old Bailey, and
the smoking gun left the UK in his inviolable baggage. In 1961 there was no alternative to the courts of the countries
where embassy officials served. But today we have a developing system of international criminal courts, whose judges
could provide an independent and unbiased alternative. (They have international prisons as well, if objection is taken to
the condition of local jails). It is time for the Vienna Convention to be renegotiated to end impunity by requiring all
credible and serious charges (carrying a 10-year plus maximum sentence) levelled against diplomats and their families
and retainers to be tried – either by waiving immunity, or electing to have them dealt with in an international court or
ad hoc tribunal (eg judges from the local and sending states, with a UN judge presiding). Until this can be achieved, the
FCO must take the problem of criminal diplomats much more seriously than in the past, where details of immunity
claims have had to be extracted by parliamentary questions. Any country that chooses to protect an embassy official
against prosecution must be treated with the contempt it deserves: its ambassador should be carpeted, any aid budget
reviewed, and full details of charges and evidence released to the media in this country and in the country of the
diplomat's nationality. In the case of countries such as Sierra Leone (which, quite disgustingly, has just stopped the UK
prosecution of one of its diplomats for sex trafficking) we should actually threaten to withhold aid until the alleged
offender's immunity is waived. This approach would work wonders for the payment of parking tickets and other
motoring fines. Some years ago the US threatened to deduct the total of unpaid parking fines run up by each embassy in
Washington from its country's foreign aid allocation. Most embassies paid up immediately. The problem with the
congestion charges unpaid by the likes of America and Japan must be handled differently. These countries claim that
the charge violates the Vienna Convention, but hypocritically refuse to have the issue decided by a British court, or
referred to the international court of justice in The Hague. The answer is for Boris Johnson, the London mayor, to seek a
declaration in the high court that the inviolability of an embassy's premises has nothing to do with the route taken by its
limousines, and for Mr Hague to take them, no pun intended, to the Hague. The immunity that once served to keep
communications open is hardly necessary in the age of the email and video link. Diplomats and their dependants should
no longer prove an exception to the rule of law.


5.Murder law changes will make little difference, say
New laws preventing people accused of murder from using sexual jealousy, so-called "honour" killing and revenge as
partial defences will make little difference in practice, lawyers say. The reforms - which will be debated next week as
part of proposals for the first new murder legislation in 50 years - have been hailed by the government as a radical
overhaul after years of controversial interpretation by the courts. They will remove the current rules on "provocation",
which provides a "partial defence" of murder, reducing convictions to manslaughter where an accused proves they have
killed after being "provoked to lose self-control as a result of things said or done". "Provocation" will be replaced under
the proposals, part of the coroners and justice bill published last week, with a new system of partial defences that
specifically excludes sexual jealousy, something that was previously open for the jury to allow as a basis for the partial
defence. Critics of the changes have expressed doubts about singling out situations such as sexual infidelity. "I must
confess to being uneasy about a law which so diminishes the significance of sexual infidelity," Lord Phillips of Worth
Matravers, the senior law lord, said recently in response to the proposals. "We do not believe that sexual infidelity
should be singled out," added Peter Lodder QC, chairman of the Criminal Bar Association.Lawyers said the changes
would make little difference in practice. "As a general trend, defendants have not been able to rely on sexual infidelity
under the current law," criminal barrister John Cooper said. "Any defence run on that basis would have been unlikely to
convince a jury."Despite the proposals' aims to toughen the law on "provocation", victims of domestic violence would be
subject to greater understanding under the changes, the government said. Defendants - often women - who killed their
partners after suffering from cumulative episodes of abuse would be able to invoke a new partial defence, reducing their
conviction to manslaughter where they could show they acted in "fear of serious violence".The government also faces
opposition over its refusal to radically change the law on "diminished responsibility", a separate partial defence open to
defendants suffering from an "abnormality of mind".The current law will be clarified so that it only applies to those
suffering from a "recognised medical condition". The government has rejected proposals to include "developmental
immaturity", causing anger among critics.

6.The European court's hidden but hopeful message on
same-sex marriage
The right to marry remains subject primarily to national and not European law, but an Austrian couple have nudged the
Council of Europe's 47 states closer to a consensus. Last week, the European court of human rights ruled unanimously
that there was no obligation on states to recognise same-sex marriage. At least, not yet. Because hidden within the
ruling are two significant findings that make it almost certain that one day the court will rule in favour of a right to have
same-sex relationships – including marriages – recognised in law. The case is also notable for a bizarre intervention by
the UK government, arguing against a right – to recognition of civil partnerships – that it had itself introduced at home.
Two Austrians, a Mr Schalk and a Mr Kopf, argued that the right to marry, set out in the European convention on
human rights, requires states to recognise same-sex marriage. The court rejected that argument unanimously, stating
instead that the right of men and women to marry is subject to national laws. The court relied on the fact that only six of
the 47 European states recognise same-sex marriage (in fact, seven countries now do, with Iceland the latest). In this
approach the court showed once more that on issues it calls "morality" it normally follows states, rather than leads
them, an approach which those who accuse the court of "interfering" too much would do well to consider. However, the
court did state clearly that the right to marry does not apply only to persons of the opposite sex. The EU charter of
fundamental rights – accepted by all EU states — guarantees the right to marry, deliberately excluding any reference to
gender. This should mean that in those countries that grant access to marriage for all couples, any distinction between
same-sex and heterosexual marriage would be arguable discrimination under the convention. But for now the court has
held back, hinting strongly that it will recognise the right to same-sex marriage, as a right under the convention, when a
"European consensus" exists – ie, when enough states have done so.But Schalk and Kopf made a further argument –
one that divided the court by four votes to three. They argued they had been discriminated against by Austria in their
right to family life, being denied the right to any legal recognition of their relationship. In January this year Austria
introduced civil partnerships (well after the case was first brought) and as a result, the majority of the court said that in
fact they were not suffering discrimination, as they did now have the right to a civil partnership. Nor had the two men
shown that the differences between a civil partnership and marriage in Austria (which are mainly about parental rights)
would affect them.But the court did for the first time recognise that a same-sex couple in a stable relationship


constitutes "family life" in the same way that a heterosexual couple does. The three dissenting judges argued strongly
that there was discrimination, in that Austria gave no legal recognition to same-sex relationships before 2010 and gave
no arguments about why it would treat people differently on the grounds of their sexual orientation. All of the other 46
states of the Council of Europe could have chosen to intervene in this case. Only one did – the United Kingdom. The
court's judgment summarises the UK's arguments as being strongly against any right to same-sex marriage or to
recognition of same-sex partnerships. This intervention is very peculiar, to say the least, as it was done under the
previous Labour government, which was very proud of introducing legal recognition of civil partnerships in Britain. In
fact, after this intervention was publicised in the Guardian in 2008 and Anthony Lester raised the issue in the Lords, the
government said it was amending its arguments, but it does not appear to have done so with any major change of
approach.In fact, when it comes to intervening at the European court of human rights to weaken human rights
protection, the UK has form. In a 2008 case against Italy it was again the sole intervener, this time trying to water down
the absolute ban on deportations where there is a real risk of torture. Its arguments in that case were resoundingly
rejected by the court, and its intervention was later criticised by a parliamentary committee.Although the implications
of this case for gay marriage are disappointing to Schalk and Kopf, they have achieved a clear precedent for the future.
In recognising that the right to family life and the right to marry are applicable to same-sex relationships, the court has
effectively said it will declare it a duty for states to recognise such rights, once enough states have done so. The new
British government has already published a policy paper saying that the UK is a "world leader" on lesbian, gay, bisexual
and transgender rights, and wants to discuss taking civil partnerships to the "next stage". Hopefully, if last week's ruling
is appealed to the grand chamber of the European court, the government will not intervene again against equality.
Instead it should put Britain at the forefront of the growing European consensus by introducing recognition of same-sex

7. David Cameron under pressure to review
interrogation guidelines
High court rules policy may have been unlawful. Government rewriting guidance, says lawyer. The government is facing
pressure on two fronts to overhaul the secret interrogation policy, drawn up by the Labour administration, that led to
terrorism suspects being detained illegally and tortured in the so-called war on terror.In the courts, the legal charity
Reprieve is pressing for a judicial review of the legality of the guidance given to MI5 and MI6 officers questioning
suspects held overseas since the al-Qaida attacks of September 2001, arguing that it sanctions complicity in torture. A
high court judge yesterday ruled that the guidance may well be unlawful, but said such a review was not necessary after
hearing that the government would be rewriting and publishing the policy in the near future. Reprieve is considering
whether to appeal against that decision, arguing that it exposes detainees to continuing mistreatment. Meanwhile,
Human Rights Watch publishes a report today that points to the "embarrassing and possibly illegal contents" of that
secret policy. The New York-based group adds that although the UK has claimed the eradication of torture to be a
foreign policy goal, it has "pursued a series of counterterrorism policies that undermine the absolute prohibition on
torture". The complicity of UK agents in torture in Pakistan, in particular, it says, "sends a clear message to the
authorities in Pakistan that the UK is indifferent about the torture of terrorism suspects in its custody".In the absence of
a judicial review into the UK's involvement in torture and rendition in recent years – or any date for such an inquiry –
the government is fast becoming entangled in litigation that began long before it took power.At the high court, Mr
Justice Collins said the allegations about the manner in which UK intelligence officers interrogated detainees held
overseas, if true, "indicated that there may well have been complicity in acts of torture". He added: "It hasn't been
suggested by [the government] that any actions taken by the relevant personnel have been taken in breach of any
guidelines; accordingly, the inference could be drawn that the guidance was ... unlawful."He decided against authorising
a review of the legality of the guidelines after James Eadie QC, for the government, said new guidance was "immediately
prospective". Eadie added: "This government is committed to publishing the consolidated guidance very
shortly."Richard Hermer QC, for Reprieve, said there was no doubt there had been complicity in torture. "If you're
receiving intelligence from a man who you know the previous day had electrodes attached to his testicles, then you are
taking advantage of that torture and you are reaping its fruits."The interrogation policy was drawn up in two phases. In
January 2002, MI5 and MI6 officers in Afghanistan were told they could not be "party" to torture and must not "be seen
to condone it", but that as long as the victim was "not within our custody or control" they were not obliged to halt it. One
MI5 officer who acted in compliance with this guidance while questioning Binyam Mohamed in Karachi in May 2002 is
now being investigated by Scotland Yard.The policy was rewritten in May 2004 after the release of photographs showing
prisoners being abused at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The details of the revision are being kept secret. David Miliband,
the former foreign secretary, indicated while in office its publication would "give succour" to the nation's enemies. A
number of detainees have said they were tortured after 2004 and there is clear evidence of British complicity in their


mistreatment. Today one of these individuals is seeking leave to appeal against his subsequent conviction for terrorism
offences, arguing that his trial should not have gone ahead because of the UK's role in his torture in Pakistan. The
government is attempting to use in-camera court procedure in a manner that would conceal from the public the role
that both MI5 and MI6, and Manchester police, are said to have played in the events that led to him being beaten,
whipped and having his fingernails ripped out. In its report, Human Rights Watch is critical of the Intelligence and
Security Committee (ISC), the group of MPs and peers that is supposed to oversee MI5 and MI6. It says: "The
limitations on the ISC's mandate and the unwillingness of the government to submit itself to effective parliamentary
scrutiny, underscore the need for an independent, public judicial inquiry into all cases in which there are allegations of
British government complicity, participation or knowledge of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of

8. Torture inquiry should leave no stone unturned, says
Investigation into human rights abuses promised by William Hague needs to be independent and must look at criminal
responsibility, says organisationThe coalition government should "leave no stone unturned" in the search for the truth
about the UK's complicity in foreign torture, the head of Amnesty International has said.An inquiry promised by
William Hague, the foreign secretary, needs to be both independent and able to decide whether any individuals should
be prosecuted, said Amnesty's interim secretary general, Claudio Cordone."We look forward to an inquiry that is truly
independent and looks not only at potential criminal responsibility but also at Britain's co-operation agreements with
the United States and other countries," said Cordone. "It should leave no stone unturned."Launching its annual human
rights report, Amnesty was highly critical of the last Labour government for "stonewalling" in the face of repeated calls
for an independent investigation into the mounting allegations that UK intelligence officials were complicit in
abductions, illegal detention and torture since the al-Qaida attacks of September 2001.The organisation said it was also
concerned about the UK relying on "diplomatic assurances" when carrying out deportations to countries such as Algeria
and Jordan.In London, Amnesty's UK campaigns director, Tim Hancock, said Britain had lost the moral high ground in
recent years, and that the new political era offered an opportunity for the UK to break free of the human rights abuses of
the past."Both parties in the new government have criticised the previous government on human rights grounds and it's
vital that they live up to their fine words now they're in office," Hancock said."We're stressing that 'justice gaps' – where
people are cut off from accessing justice – need to be closed all around the world, and it's only right that the UK delivers
on law and order at home and abroad. While dozens of countries in the world have very poor human rights records, the
truth is that ours has been nothing to write home about either." The Foreign Office was taken by surprise last Thursday
when Hague said that an investigation would be held, and Whitehall officials later insisted that any such inquiry could
not start while a number of court cases are ongoing. Several men who allege UK complicity in their rendition and torture
are currently suing MI5, MI6 and the British government.The same officials said that any inquiry would need to be held
in secret – a proposal that has been condemned by human rights groups.
Those organisations say the inquiry should establish:
• who authorised the bilateral agreements with the US that led to Britain offering logistic support for the CIA's rendition
programme of kidnap and torture, and whether any other agreements led to human rights abuses;
• who authorised the secret interrogation policy, transmitted to MI5 and MI6 officers, telling them they could
interrogate people who were being tortured, as long as they did not participate and were not "seen to condone it";
• what Downing Street knew about the torture of Binyam Mohamed, and about the torture of several British citizens
since 2001;
• and what the last foreign and home secretaries, David Miliband and Alan Johnson, knew about the UK's involvement
in torture and rendition.
Amnesty's annual report for 2010, covering 159 countries, condemned a number of influential nations that it says
attempt to stand above human rights laws. It accused these countries, including the US, Russia and China, of shielding
allies from criticism and only taking action when it is politically convenient.The organisation also criticised the EU for
failing to live up to its commitments on human rights, citing the tolerance of the CIA's rendition flights and secret


detention program. It added that several European countries had repeatedly violated rulings by the European court of
human rights against the return of terror suspects to countries where they are at risk of torture. Amnesty also recorded
torture, unfair trials and restrictions on free speech in dozens of countries, singling out Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, North
Korea, Myanmar, Russia and Sri Lanka for criticism.

9. Law and globalisation . Not entirely free, your
honour. The legal profession, like the clients it serves, is
well on the way to going global—but especially in India,
obstacles to its spread remain
LAW is supposed to be about universal principles: rules that apply without prejudice to a broad category of human
beings, regardless of sex, culture or economic status. So in a world where barriers to the transfer of goods, expertise and
people are coming down, you might expect that the legal profession would be among the first to fuse into a seamless
transnational fraternity. In history, whenever cross-border commerce has flourished, as in medieval Venice, so too have
trade lawyers with broad horizons, like the ones pictured above. And today, at least from the vantage-point of the
ambitious practitioner, the legal profession seems to have little respect for borders.A talented graduate from any of the
world’s top law schools can expect a life of globe-trotting. A single month’s work can include writing the small print on a
Saudi investment in Africa, helping an Indonesian firm to market its shares in New York, and writing a contract under
English law between two companies in Russia. Humanitarian law, as well as the commercial sort, is going global: these
days nobody would be surprised to see an American lobby group test the principle of “universal jurisdiction” (for
egregious crimes) by trying to get an African dictator arrested on a shopping trip to Europe.But that is not the whole
story. On one hand, international lawyers are at least as ingenious as their customers when it comes to overcoming
obstacles to transnational operations; on the other, lawyers have always been skilful at limiting access to their own
profession, both within their own countries and globally. And when there are big barriers to professional mobility inside
a country, it is less likely to open up to foreign competition.By global standards, the glittering prize of practising law in
New York is fairly accessible to anybody with the brains (and a green card). If you come from another American state, or
from another country that practises English-style common law (in which precedents set by judges are all-important), it
is a matter of mugging up and passing the New York bar exam. If you come from a country that practises civil law
(where a written legal code holds sway), then you must spend first spend a year getting a Master of Laws at an American
university. As this arrangement implies, there are big similarities between the precedent-based systems of law that
prevail in the Anglophone world, and a wide difference between them and the civil-law tradition of continental Europe.
So it might be expected that lawyers could slide easily from one English-speaking or Commonwealth country to another,
while finding it harder to leave the Anglo-sphere. It is true that most global law firms are British- or American-based.
But Commonwealth countries have not always offered an open environment; among the things they learned from
British mentors—along with ideals like the presumption of innocence—was how to protect the profession from pesky
competitors. And some non-Commonwealth countries are now surprisingly open. In China and Brazil foreign firms have
flourished by offering advice on international law, but they cannot provide legal representation in local courts. (An
exception is Hong Kong, which has recently seen a spurt in foreign lawyers taking the local bar exam.) If a Chinese
lawyer takes a job with a foreign law office in Beijing, he or she will temporarily forfeit the right to practise Chinese law.
But a Russian lawyer who wants to work for a foreign employer faces no such disincentive.South Korea has promised to
open up its legal market to outsiders under a Free Trade Agreement with the European Union that should be ratified
later this year. And in 2008 Singapore became more foreign-friendly; certain firms from other countries can practise
domestic law in some areas, as long as the lawyers they use have local qualifications. Japan opened up its legal-services
market in 1999, despite great nervousness from its own lawyers. Since 2005, foreign firms have been able to set up
partnerships employing Japanese lawyers, who (in contrast with Singapore) need not give up their national licence. But
there is one determined outlier among fast-growing Asian economies: India, the only big country that is closed to
foreign lawyers in any capacity. A powerful lobby—ranging from hundreds of thousands of small (often husband-andwife) practices to a handful of leading partnerships—resists change. Foreigners who tried venturing into the Indian
market are still reeling from a decision in December by the Bombay High Court which deemed illegal the “liaison
offices” that some outsiders had opened. The Indian government said (rather half-heartedly) that it would appeal
against this ruling. But the climate in which law-related work could be undertaken by outsiders has gone from difficult
to prohibitive. Reena Sengupta, a London-based consultant, says she used to see foreign-owned legal-research
operations in India where beds, not desks, greeted the visitor; such was the keenness to dispel the impression that law
was being practised. Now those offices have simply closed.Indians who need world-class legal advice lose out, says
Stuart Popham, a senior partner in Clifford Chance, a London firm, who this week accompanied David Cameron, the


British prime minister, on a tour of India. The effect is “to restrict supply and competition and raise prices…you have to
fly clients out to meet lawyers elsewhere.” A lot of Indian-related work is done in the more liberal climate of Singapore.
Mr Popham says he is frustrated by some Indians’ contention that firms like his own will inevitably take away local jobs.
“Liberalisation does not take away anyone’s job…the evidence is that no country has ended up with a smaller domestic
legal community after opening up.”For the Law Society of England and Wales, getting the Indians to free up their
market is high on the wish-list. “We want to invest in India’s potential to become a global legal player…this means new
work coming to India,” insists Alison Hook, the society’s head of international activities.But much of her target audience
is, as yet, unpersuaded. “The Indian profession will rise up in arms if [foreigners] want to open offices here,” says Lalit
Bhasin, head of the Society of Indian Law Firms. He accuses the British government and profession of “trying to
emasculate the Indian legal community” by pressing a “one-point agenda” of liberalisation. In practice, India’s legal
world is unlikely to let outsiders participate unless restrictions on the country’s own lawyers are eased. Indian firms may
not advertise their services, and only the simplest websites are permitted; until recently the number of partners was
capped at 20. Cyril Shroff, managing partner at Amarchand Mangaldas, India’s biggest law firm, says a more liberal
regime, both internally and externally, is inevitable—but he would oppose opening the field to foreigners unless life was
also made easier for locals. “The real question is how we can modernise the Indian legal market.” Ms Hook says her
society agrees with the idea of India undertaking “holistic” reform, domestic as well as external. Another big
Commonwealth country, Canada, is less restrictive than India—but not as open as England or Australia either. It is fairly
rare for lawyers to move between Canadian provinces, and a switch from Quebec to an English-speaking province
involves a change of legal tradition as well as language. Meanwhile, foreign lawyers who want to practise Canadian law
face two evaluations—one at federal level, the other provincial—and most fail. Between 1999 and 2009, the Federation
of Law Societies received 4,515 applications from foreign advocates and issued only 1,708 certificates. Of the 1,027
English lawyers assessed, only 375 got the desired bit of paper. Paul Paton, a Canadian-born law professor, believes that
governments, not lawyers, deserve the credit for opening up the profession in England and Australia—and he hopes for
a similar change in Canada. English and Australian lawyers were forced to abandon the idea of self-regulation when “the
public saw something wasn’t right and the government had to step in,” says Mr Paton, who now works at California’s
University of the Pacific. Canadian lawyers could benefit from a more liberal legal-services regime, he believes. Already,
some Canadians find ways around the obstacles which they, like everybody, face in India. Stikeman Elliott, a Canadian
firm with about 500 lawyers worldwide, trawls for contacts among the Indian diaspora in Toronto and Vancouver, and
it stands ready to assist Indian investors with an eye on Canada’s resources. But it avoids giving even a whisper of advice
on Indian soil.While some countries still hesitate to enter the global contest for legal services and talent, the competition
itself is changing, says John Conroy, chairman of Baker & McKenzie, an American firm which went global before
anybody else. It was no longer a question of vying to help Western investors with their activities in emerging economies;
the real prize in those markets was “outbound” work—for example, advising on investment by Chinese concerns in
Africa and Latin America, or on rights issues for Chinese banks. (His firm’s China-based partners have recently done
both.) The other change was that firms based in Asia were bidding for Anglo-Saxon talent. Chinese firms were hiring
lawyers from English-speaking countries, while Japanese law firms—so risk-averse only a decade ago—were
consolidating and girding themselves for international work. As Mr Conroy notes, it takes time for an institution based
in the Anglophone world to be acculturated in Asia or Latin America; winning local trust is as crucial as passing exams
or gaining licences. And even in countries where trust has been established, the climate can change, as Baker &
McKenzie is finding in the anti-American atmosphere that now rages in Venezuela, where it has worked since the 1950s.
The situation there is “really testing our mettle, and I call our Caracas partners heroes,” Mr Conroy says. Whether
administrative or just cultural, barriers can go up as well as down.

10. The church and the law. Calling time on theocracy.
Complacency has blinded the Vatican to the gravity of
the abuse crisis
WHEN a crisis hits a vast institution it can seem reasonable to say that the task of handling the crisis falls mainly to the
institution itself. It must regroup and survive, or else fail and collapse. But things change when there is evidence of
criminal activity and of efforts to hide it. At that point it becomes urgent for everybody, including good people inside the
institution, to let daylight in and expose wrongdoing without hesitation to outside authorities.All that might seem
obvious, but for some of those responsible for handling the abuse scandal now afflicting the Roman Catholic church,
especially in Europe, the penny has yet to drop. Instead of fully accepting the primacy of secular law, the Vatican still
gives the impression that the problem is mainly one of internal housecleaning. Last month the church unveiled a
tightening of its own rules for dealing with abusers that fell far short of what the world demands. A “statute of


limitations” for child-abuse was extended by ten years; people aged up to 38 can now file charges against a priest, under
church law, for harm suffered when they were minors. Too bad if a victim feels emboldened to speak out at the age of
39. A faster procedure for defrocking priests—one that risks giving the innocent little opportunity for self-defence—was
introduced. At the same time, with stunning insensitivity, it was declared that “attempting to ordain a woman” as a
priest would be treated as a serious offence. To put it kindly, whoever crafted those statements must be out of touch with
the reality that is now catching up with the quasi-theocratic regimes (in other words, situations where religion is
immune from state power, and has power of its own) which persist across Europe. In Ireland a point of no return was
reached in November when a report found police collusion in covering up clerical misdeeds. Irish citizens, including
pious ones, will never again treat the church as untouchable. In June Belgium’s authorities virtually dissolved an
internal church inquiry into sex abuse by seizing files and detaining the country’s bishops for several hours. In Germany
cosy ties between religious and political authorities have been shaken by news of abuse at prestigious Catholic schools
and monasteries. In Italy the church still enjoys a sort of immunity, for cultural reasons, but Italians will surely one day
insist that their religion should be answerable to the law of the land. That principle is especially important at a time
when Western democracies are struggling to work out what place, if any, they can accord to subcultures that wish to
regulate their family affairs under the laws of Islam, or some other minority faith.There are psychological and
sociological reasons why the Vatican has been slow to accept these hard realities. In most parts of Europe its clergy is
ageing and diminishing in number—to a much greater extent than is its flock (see article). The temptation for a
declining church to hang on to old privileges is strong. But it hardly helps win souls. Senior clerics, such as Cardinal
Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, and Rino Fisichella, recently charged with “re-evangelising” Europe, have signalled that
they understand the need for the church to change. But they have run into a wall of internal opposition.It is no
coincidence that the scandals have usually been worst where the church claims the greatest legal power; nor that the
church has looked healthiest when it focuses on converts not canon law. If only the Vatican’s masters could read the
signs of the times more clearly, they might see that they have an interest in full accountability—to secular courts and
elected governments. Instead of fiddling about with their own arcane procedures, they should enlist lay authorities to
help them clean up and obey the law, just like everybody else.

11.America's penal system. Sing Sing or the lash. Should
America flog criminals instead of jailing them?
IMAGINE that you—or, if you prefer, a younger, more reckless version of you—committed a crime. A bar brawl, driving
home drunk again, some tax fiddling, getting caught with a more-than-trivial but less-than-kingpin amount of illegal
drugs: something, in any event, that got you sentenced to a few years in prison. And say you were offered a choice: you
could either spend those years behind bars, or you could get ten lashes. Certainly painful, probably humiliating, but it
would be done under close medical supervision by a licensed flogger, and it would be over in minutes. You would
recover, except for the scarring, in a few weeks. And you could get on with your life. You may think flogging is barbaric,
but is there any question which you would choose if you could? According to Peter Moskos, a sociologist whose previous
book, “Cop in the Hood”, detailed his year spent as a Baltimore beat cop: “If flogging were really worse than prison,
nobody would choose it.”The modern American prison system evolved as an alternative to flogging: penitentiaries were
designed to “cure” prisoners of their criminality—to render them penitent—rehabilitating them into productive
members of society. On this score, as on most others, it has failed. Indeed, prisons seem to cause more crime than they
prevent, hardly surprising when you throw a bunch of criminals together with nothing to do and lots of time. Today
roughly 2.3m people live in America’s prisons, more than live in any American city other than New York, Los Angeles or
Chicago. America’s incarceration rate of 750 per 100,000 is five times the world average; roughly one in every 31
Americans—and one in every 11 African-Americans—is under some form of correctional control, whether prison,
probation or parole.Some prison inmates are incorrigibly violent and must be kept apart from society, but most are not.
They are there to be punished, hence the maxim, “We build prisons for people we’re afraid of and fill them with people
we’re mad at.” Flogging, Mr Moskos argues, would at least let society punish people swiftly and efficiently. Brutal and
archaic it may be, but Mr Moskos convincingly argues that America’s prison system is at least as inhumane. “If we really
wanted to punish people,” Mr Moskos writes, “we could sentence drug offenders to join gangs and fear for their lives; we
could punish child abusers to torture followed by death; we could force straight men to have semiconsensual prison-gay
sex…All these things already happen, but we just sweep them under the rug and look the other way.”The system is also
broken: entities that profit from incarceration—prison-guard unions and private-prison builders—lobby for longer
sentences, while politicians build prisons in poor rural areas. “The cynical among us,” Mr Moskos writes, “might even
say we’re spending billions of dollars to pay poor rural unemployed whites to guard poor urban unemployed blacks.”
And indeed prisons tend to be filled with poor minorities: more than half of all black men without a high-school diploma
spend time in jail. Though in recent years a few states have started to roll back against the trend of ever longer, ever
harsher sentencing, these efforts amount to little more than bailing out a sinking supertanker with a teacup.Mr


Moskos’s proposal begins as a provocation and ends bleakly plausible. But flogging is still flogging. There may exist little
political will to legalise drugs or rethink how and why criminals are punished, but America is not about to start
whipping people again anytime soon. Perhaps the most damning evidence of the broken American prison system is that
it makes a proposal to reinstate flogging appear almost reasonable. Almost.

12.Franţa cere recunoaşterea genocidului armean din
1915. Turcia răspunde: Tineţi-vă sfaturile pentru voi
Premierul Turciei, Recep Tayyp Erdogan, i-a răspuns dur preşedintelui francez Nicolas Sarkozy care a cerut ca Ankara
să recunoască faptul că uciderea unui million de armeni, în 1915, în timpul Primului Război Mondial, este, de fapt,
genocid. Premierul turc i-a recomandat lui Nicolas Sarkozy să "îşi ţină sfaturile pentru el"."Vedeţi, preşedintele Franţei,
Sarkozy dă nişte sfaturi Turciei cu scopul de a investi în următoarele alegeri (n.r. care vor avea loc în Franţa)", a mai
spus Erdogan la întâlnirea de grup a partidului său, AKP. Premierul turc l-a criticat pe şeful statului francez care ar avea
discursuri diferite pentru Franţa, Armenia şi Turcia în această chestiune."Mai întâi ar trebui să vă ascultaţi sfatul. El
este diferit în Franţa, diferit în Armenia şi mult mai diferit în Turcia. Nu poate exista un lider politic cu atâtea feţe.
Politica necesită sinceritate", a declarat Erdogan în Parlamentul turc.Sarkozy, aflat săptămâna trecută într-o vizită la
Erevan, a îndemnat Ankara să recunoască "într-un timp scurt", faptul că masacrul din 1915, făcut de Imperiul Otoman,
este genocid. Preşedintele francez a menţionat că "din 1915 până în 2011, se pare că a fost destul timp de
gândire".Erdogan a reacţionat imediat, spunând că liderul francez nu face decât o "investiţie electorală", având în vedere
că în 2012 vor urma alegerile prezidenţiale în Franţa."Sunt 600.000 de armeni în ţara dvs, dar sunt de asemenea
500.000 de turci. Aveţi relaţii cu Turcia. Iar funcţia de preşedinte presupune să te gândeşti la generaţiile viitoare, nu la
viitoarele alegeri", a mai spus Erdogan.Aceste declaraţii legate de recunoaşterea genocidului armean nu sunt primele
care îi supără pe liderii de la Ankara. În 2006, înaintea ultimelor alegeri prezidenţiale din Franţa, Sarkozy a fost
susţinătorul unei legi, votate de Adunarea Naţională, potrivit căreia negarea genocidului armean poate fi pedepsită.
Totuşi, legea nu a intrat în vigoare fiindcă nu a fost votată şi de Senatul francez. Atunci, potrivit Adunării naţionale
franceze, obiectivul acestei propuneri legislative era completarea unei legi votate cu dificultate în 2001 prin care "Franţa
recunoaşte public genocidul armean din 1915".

13.Cadouri pentru judecători, „din prietenie"
Gabriel Chiriac ar fi recunoscut faptul că a făcut diverse daruri judecătoarelor de la Înalta Curte de Justiţie. Însă, le-ar fi
spus omul de afaceri anchetatorilor, darurile nu au fost din interes, ci din prietenie. Procurorii anticorupţie au
confirmat ieri dezvăluirile RL potrivit cărora judecătorii Gabriela Bârsan şi Iuliana Puşoiu ar fi făcut trafic de influenţă o
perioadă lungă, respectiv între mai 2010 - mai 2011, în favoarea omului de afaceri Gabriel Chiriac. Potrivit DNA,
„învinuitele au primit, în mod repetat, de la învinuiţii Gherbovan-Silinescu Claudia (avocată - n.n.) şi Chiriac Gabriel
diferite foloase reprezentând bijuterii, contravaloarea unor bilete de avion şi plata cazării pentru diferite deplasări în
străinătate, suportarea cheltuielilor ocazionate de organizarea unor petreceri la restaurant, asigurarea folosinţei gratuite
a unui apartament situat în Paris (Franţa). Foloasele au fost primite în schimbul facilitării soluţionării favorabile a unor
dosare aflate pe rolul Înaltei Curţi de Casaţie şi Justiţie - Secţia de Contencios Administrativ şi Fiscal".Începând din luna
mai 2011, traficul de influenţă ar fi încetat deoarece - spun sursele noastre - judecătoarele au fost avertizate de un coleg
de la Secţia Penală, care a semnat mandatele de interceptare a convorbirilor şi comunicărilor informatice. De asemenea,
din caruselul infracţional de la ICCJ ar mai face parte şi alţi judecători, cel puţin şase făptuitori, cu care Bârsan şi Puşoiu
ar fi intrat în complete pentru a judeca litigiile unde avea interese Gabriel Chiriac. Aceleaşi surse mai spun că ancheta sar extinde pentru favorizarea infractorului şi asupra judecătorilor Corina Corbu şi Nicolae Măniguţiu, tot de la Secţia
Contencios, condusă şi acum de Gabriela Bârsan.Traficul de influenţă al judecătoarelor Bârsan şi Puşoiu se exercită şi
era monitorizat exact în perioada în care un alt judecător de la Înalta Curte, Florin Costiniu, şeful Secţiei Civile, fusese
arestat preventiv de DNA tot pentru trafic de influenţă la Secţia Contencios, condusă de Gabriela Bârsan. Este vorba de
celebrul dosar al senatorului Cătălin Voicu, care, prin judecătorii Florin Costiniu şi Cristian Jipa de la Înalta Curte, ar fi
făcut trafic de influenţă pentru oamenii de afaceri Costel Căşuneanu şi Marius Locic. Cum se poate explica faptul că în
plin scandal o şefă de secţie continuă să facă trafic de influenţă în dosare? Poate şi pentru că CSM i-a apărat reputaţia,
susţinând public atunci că judecătoarea Bârsan nu este implicată în măsluiri de dosare. De remarcat faptul că atât în
reţeaua Voicu, cât şi în cea a omului de afaceri Chiriac apar ca făptuitori judecători promovaţi la Înalta Curte în baza
unui simplu interviu de complezenţă. Ar fi vorba de Cristian Jipa, Corina Corbu şi Nicolae Măniguţiu. În urma
scandalului Voicu din 2010, Uniunea Naţională a Judecătorilor din România a cerut ca promovarea la Înalta Curte să se


facă prin concurs, dar Senatul a respins zilele trecute un astfel de proiect de lege. După declanşarea ultimului scandal,
senatorii PDL au anunţat că vor pune din nou în discuţie proiectul de lege.În decursul anilor, Gabriel Chiriac ar fi fost
implicat în tranzacţii imobiliare de peste 600 de milioane de euro. Printre acestea, vânzarea terenurilor şi clădirilor care
ar fi aparţinut unor coloşi industriali ca Electrotehnica, Electroaparataj, UMEB, Anticoroziv, METEX Big, Tricodava,
Electrocontact, Romarta SA, Vel Pitar, Romportmet Galaţi etc. În tranzacţii era implicat prin firma sa, UNITED Capital.
Multe dintre centrele comerciale de astăzi sunt ridicate pe terenuri tranzacţionate prin Chiriac. Tranzacţiile au fost
făcute pentru fonduri americane, reprezentate de firme off-shore din Cipru, iar banii au fost exportaţi. Traseul banilor a
fost monitorizat de SRI, la sesizarea Oficiului Naţional pentru Prevenirea şi Combaterea Spălării B anilor, spun surse

14. CEDO: România va plăti 13.300 euro unui român
condamnat pentru omor, pentru condiţiile din detenţie
Statul român a fost obligat, printr-o decizie de marţi a CEDO, să îi plătească unui român condamnat la 21 de ani de
închisoare pentru omor calificat daune morale de 13.300 de euro, precum şi onorariul avocatului care l-a reprezentat,
peste 3.000 de euro, pentru condiţiile din detenţie.Decizia a fost luată marţi de Curtea Europeană a Drepturilor Omului
(CEDO), în cauza Fane Ciobanu împotriva României.Potrivit decizie publicate pe site-ul instituţiei, bărbatul a fost
arestat preventiv în 1999, fiind condamnat definitiv la 21 de ani de închisoare în octombrie 2000, printr-o decizie a
instanţei supreme, care l-a găsit vinovat de omor calificat.În ianuarie 2000, Ciobanu a fost încarcerat în Penitenciarul
Bucureşti Jilava, iar ulterior în penitenciarele din Craiova, Giurgiu şi din nou la Jilava. Bărbatul a reclamat la CEDO
faptul că penitenciarele unde a fost închis erau suprapopulate, fiind nevoit să împartă patul cu alţi deţinuţi, fiind cazat
în aceeaşi celulă cu persoane care sufereau de maladii transmisibile.Mai mult, Fane Ciobanu a reclamat şi igiena precară
din penitenciare, lipsa apei calde sau lipsa încălzirii în celule, precum şi regimul alimentar nepotrivit cu faptul că suferea
de ulcer. De asemenea, acesta a reclamat şi faptul că autorităţile i-au respins cererea de a îi procura proteze dentare,
având în vedere că suferea de edentiţie totală, deşi respectivele proteze costau aproximativ 80 de euro.Curtea a decis că
autorităţile române i-au încălcat drepturile lui Fane Ciobanu, acesta fiind supus unui tratament degradant, din prisma
condiţiilor de detenţie din penitenciarele unde a fost închis, precum şi din cauza lipsei de îngrijiri stomatologice. Astfel,
judecătorii au decis să oblige statul român să îi plătească acestuia 13.300 de euro daune morale, faţă de 70.000
solicitate.De asemenea, CEDO a decis acordarea unei sume de aproximativ 3.000 de euro onorariul avocatei care l-a
reprezentat pe Ciobanu, deşi onorariul solicitat era de aproape 5.000 de euro.

15. Ploieşti: Procesul bărbatului care a violat o fetiţă,
amânat întrucât inculpatul a rămas fără avocat
Procesul bărbatului din Ploieşti acuzat că a violat o fetiţă de nouă ani a fost amânat, marţi, de Tribunalul Prahova, după
ce inculpatul a rămas fără avocatul care l-a reprezentat la primul termen şi care este un fost prim-procuror al
Parchetului Tribunalului Prahova condamnat pentru luare de mită, scrie Mediafax.Marţi, la Tribunalul Prahova a avut
loc al doilea termen din procesul în care ploieşteanul Marius Costin Furmuzache a fost trimis în judecată sub acuzaţiile
de viol şi tentativă de viol, victimele fiind fetiţe cu vârste de nouă şi zece ani.La termenul de marţi, Tribunalul Prahova a
amânat procesul, pentru a doua oară, după ce judecătorul a constatat că Furmuzache nu mai are apărător, contractul
dintre inculpat şi avocatul care l-a reprezentat la primul termen al procesului fiind reziliat pe cale amiabilă, au declarat
pentru corespondentul MEDIAFAX surse judiciare.Avocatul Dinu Nica, cel care l-a reprezentat pe inculpatul judecat
pentru viol, este fost prim procuror al Parchetului de pe lângă Tribunalul Prahova, condamnat de Înalta Curte de
Casaţie şi Justiţie la închisoare cu suspendare pentru luare de mită.Primul termen din procesul în care Furmuzache este
judecat pentru viol a avut loc la Tribunalul Prahova în 13 septembrie, la acel termen avocatul Dinu Nica şi clientul său
solicitând instanţei să înlocuiască măsura arestării preventive cu cea de internare într-un spital, pe motiv că
Furmuzache este bolnav psihic şi că a fost abuzat de bunic. Cererea a fost respinsă, inculpatul rămânând în arest.Potrivit
anchetatorilor, în 9 iunie, Marius Costin Furmuzache a urmărit o fetiţă de zece ani care ieşea de la şcoală, a atacat-o în
timp ce aceasta intra în apartamentul în care locuieşte, a sedat-o punându-i la gură şi la nas un material textil îmbibat în
cloroform şi a violat-o, lăsând-o inconştientă, într-o baltă de sânge.În 1 iunie, Furmuzache a urmărit o altă fetiţă în
vârstă de opt ani şi opt luni, a atacat-o, a intrat peste ea în casă şi a dus-o în dormitor, fără a o seda, agresorul fugind
însă după ce a sunat telefonul fetei, afirmă anchetatorii. Părinţii fetei nu au depus plângere la Poliţie.De asemenea, în 17


mai 2010 Furmuzache ar fi atacat, folosind aceeaşi metodă, o fetiţă de nouă ani şi opt luni. Şi în acest caz a sunat
telefonul mobil al fetiţei, iar agresorul s-a speriat şi a fugit. La acel moment, părinţii fetiţei atacate au depus plângere,
însă Poliţia Prahova nu a făcut public cazul şi nu a dat publicităţii niciun portret robot al agresorului.Ulterior, anul
acesta, după violul din 9 iunie, doi poliţişti care ar fi trebuit să se ocupe de acest caz au fost sancţionaţi disciplinar de
Poliţia Prahova.După comiterea violului din 9 iunie, Poliţia a dat publicităţii trei portrete-robot ale atacatorului. În cele
din urmă, la începutul lunii august el s-a predat autorităţilor, un pastor al bisericii Metanoia, pe care Furmuzache o
frecventa şi căruia i-a mărturisit prin telefon că el este agresorul în toate cele trei cazuri, convingându-l să facă acest
lucru.Bărbatul a fost trimis în judecată sub acuzaţiile de viol şi tentativă de viol. Marius Furmuzache este cercetat de
DIICOT şi pentru pronografie infantilă după ce în laptop-ul acestuia anchetatorii au găsit materiale pornografice cu

16.Filiera sclavelor experte în hoţie
Cu ocazia dezmembrării unei reţele internaţionale de hoţi, jandarmii din Lille au descoperit un incredibil negoţ cu tinere
specializate în furturi. De luni de zile, tinerele „experte" în hoţie erau cumpărate de la familii din Europa de Est pentru a
fura în Franţa.Ancheta poliţiei franceze, care a debutat la începutul anului 2012 în regiunea Lille, a permis depistarea
unei organizaţii criminale internaţionale axată în jurul unui clan care cumpăra şi găzduia tinere fete, toate majore, în
vederea furturilor. Hoaţele experte erau achiziţionate de la familiile lor din Serbia, în cadrul unui pseudo-mariaj, şi apoi
erau vândute pentru a forma echipe. Era un soi de piaţă a hoaţelor, cu o evoluţie a preţurilor, explică locotenent-colonel
Eric Matyn, comandantul Secţiei Cercetări a Jandarmeriei din Lille. Dacă hoaţa era bună în meseria ei, preţul era de
40.000 euro şi suma putea ajunge la 70.000 dacă ea realiza obiectivele stabilite. „Dacă hoaţa era reperată, clanul o
retrăgea şi o ţinea două-trei luni la adăpost într-o casă anume, înainte de a fi repusă din nou în circuit sau revândută în
alte ţări din Europa, în special Spania". Multe dintre ele erau supuse la violenţe fizice, iar paşaportul le era confiscat.
Cumpărate de un clan criminal din mediul ţigănesc, erau aduse în Franţa pentru a devaliza - au fost sute de astfel de
obiective - reşedinţe principale sau secundare. În timpul operaţiunii, la care au participat 90 de militari cu sprijinul
Europol, au fost arestate 16 persoane, 12 în Franţa, trei în Belgia şi una în Germania, şi alte trei fac obiectul unor
mandate europene de arest. Percheziţiile cu detectoare de metale au permis descoperirea în ascunzători speciale a mii
de bijuterii reprezentând peste 12 kg de aur, 200 ceasuri de lux, dar şi mantouri de vizon, arme şi bani lichizi. De
asemenea, au fost confiscate şi vehicule de lux de mare putere.Pamela N, 21 de ani, o sârboaică năs cută la Köln, a
recunoscut la anchetă că a fost vândută de tatăl ei contra sumei de 65.000 euro unui „patriarh" care apela la experienţa
ei în furturi prin efracţie. Jelena J, 20 de ani, a fost cumpărată şi ea pentru talentele de escaladare a clădirilor de un clan
din România. Ancheta a stabilit că acest clan este la originea a peste o mie de furturi în domeniul artei. Fără martori,
fără să lase urme. Ascunşi în apartamente sociale, aceşti „ordonatori", foarte prudenţi, nu vorbeau decât ţigăneşte, dar
au fost trădaţi de pasiunea pentru maşini, în special Mercedes sau BMW-uri, parcate în decor. Obiectele furate, de valori
colosale, convergeau de la ei spre un bijutier din Anvers.

17.Obştea sătească, un fenomen arhaic şi modern
Articolul de faţă nu este despre ştirile din ultimele săptămâni, ci mai degrabă despre cele din ultimele secole. Pentru că
îmi propun să vorbesc despre o obşte sătească, o formă de comunitate a cărei origine se pierde în începuturile epocii
medievale. În aceste comunităţi, principala resursă economică - pădurea - este proprietatea indivizibilă a întregii
comunităţi. O întâlnim mai ales în Vrancea, dar şi în Bucovina sau Banat, sub diferite denumiri (composesorate, păduri
grănicereşti, comune politice). Şcoala românească de sociologie (îndeosebi prin Henri H. Stahl) a întreprins studii
extinse asupra acestui fenomen. Am cunoscut o formă de organizare aproape identică în nordul Italiei - Regole di
Spinale e Manez (atestată din 1249, dar cu origini mult mai vechi, după unele ipoteze chiar pre-romane), unde peisajul
e, poate nu întâmplător, foarte asemănător cu cel vrâncean.Cea pe care am vizitat-o recent este în satul Viişoara (numele
vechi era Scătura Părosu) din Vrancea, pe Valea Putnei. Un sat în care ajungi cu greu, urcând în munte pe un drum
forestier de peste zece kilometri. Toţi cei 600 de locuitori ai satului sunt de drept proprietari egali ai pădurii care se
întinde pe 3.000 de hectare. Ei decid prin adunarea satului conducerea executivă, bugetul, felul în care va fi distribuit
profitul. Fiecare primeşte lemn de foc şi o parte din lemnul rezultat din exploatare. Există reguli precise: cine îşi
construieşte o casă primeşte 10 metri de lemn; cine îşi construieşte un grajd - 8 metri şi tot aşa. Orice nou-venit în
comunitate devine de drept membru al obştii. Cel care pleacă îşi păstrează această calitate, dar nu mai primeşte
beneficiile.Conducerea obştii ţine în bună parte loc de primărie, căci satul aparţine de o comună (Vidra) cu sediul aflat
tocmai în vale. De fapt, principalele lucrări comunitare sunt realizate din banii obştii: drumul din centrul comunei până
în sat, repararea şcolii şi a bisericii. Alături de alte obşti din zonă, participă la cheltuielile spitalului din Vidra. Au


construit şi o impunătoare „casă a obştii", în care se ţin adunările generale, dar şi nunţile şi botezurile. Funcţionează aici
o grădiniţă; există şi locuinţă pentru un medic şi un mic cabinet pentru consultaţii, dar, din păcate, acestea sunt goale.
Paradoxurile administraţiei fac ca, deşi mai toate cheltuielile comunităţii sunt suportate de obşte, aceasta să plătească
taxe locale către primărie.Nu este o comunitate închisă. În afară de pădurea care e proprietate comună, oamenii mai
deţin, individual, suprafeţe agricole; mulţi sunt angajaţi ai ocolului silvic (acesta administrează pădurea, pe baza unui
contract încheiat cu obştea), alţii fac naveta. Ceea ce o deosebeşte de altele este sentimentul de apartenenţă la
comunitate, care este din ce în ce mai puţin prezent în alte localităţi. Aici, oamenii chiar îşi definesc împreună
obiectivele şi le realizează tot împreună. Cu alte cuvinte, obştea e un puternic generator de capital social.Obştea este o
întreprindere, a produs profit în toţi anii de la reînfiinţare, inclusiv în cei de criză. Asta, deşi 10% din suprafaţa pădurilor
fac parte din Parcul Naţional Putna, cu regim de rezervaţie naturală; asta înseamnă că se plăteşte administrarea lor
către ocolul silvic, dar există restricţii pentru exploatarea lemnului pentru care nu există compensare de la stat. Dar nu
din asta trăiesc membrii săi. Rolul său principal este de a asigura lemnul de foc şi pentru construcţii.Particularitatea
acestei întreprinderi este aceea că, deşi funcţionează ca orice întreprindere din economia de piaţă, obiectivul său
principal nu este producerea de profit. În măsura în care există, acesta este dirijat pentru asigurarea bunăstării
membrilor comunităţii. Cu alte cuvinte, este o întreprindere socială. O formă de organizare arhaică, care corespunde
unui principiu atât de actual.Ministerul Muncii a lansat, în dezbatere publică, proiectul de lege privind economia
socială. Cred că valabilitatea textului de lege ar trebui judecată din perspectiva adecvării la nevoile formelor de
economie socială deja existente, cu viabilitate verificată de secole, iar obştea sătească este una dintre acestea.

18.Ce spune omul care se luptă în Consiliul Europei
pentru recuperarea tezaurului de la ruși
Viorel Badea este parlamentarul român care a susţinut ieri în cadrul adunării Consiliului Europei amendamentul
referitor la returnarea tezaurului României de la Moscova. Amendamentul era ataşat Raportul privind îndeplinirea
angajamentelor şi obligaţiilor Federaţiei Ruse faţă de Consiliul Europei".a trecut, este vorba de un insucces parţial,
deoarece românii au reuşit să introducă alte două amendamente similare, a spus Viorel Badea într-un interviu pentru
EVZ: În ce a constat demersul dumneavoastră la Consiliul Europei? Viorel Badea: Este vorba de un raport
pe Rusia, redactat de către doi parlamentari, elaborat în cadrul procesului de monitorizare la care este supusă Rusia de
Consiliul Europei: "Raportul privind îndeplinirea angajamentelor şi obligaţiilor Federaţiei Ruse faţă de Consiliul
Europei". În cadrul acestui raport am considerat că este nevoie să intervenim cu un subiect care se află de multă vreme
pe agenda întâlnirilor bilaterale româno-ruse şi anume situaţia tezaurului românesc confiscat de Rusia în timpul
primului război mondial.Am venit cu cinci amendamente care au fost citite ieri de mine în plenul Adunării
Parlamentare a Consiliului Europei. Au fost supuse întâi dezbaterii în comisiile parlamentare, pe aceeaşi regulă care este
şi la Bucureşti. Trei amendamente au picat dar este un eşec aparent, pentru că acestea au fost incluse de fapt în cele
două care au rămas.
Care sunt amendamentele care au rămas în picioare? Ceea ce este important este că am reuşit să introducem
pe agenda Consiliului Europei o decizie consfinţită printr-o rezoluţie votată ieri, respectiv faptul că este necesar ca
Federaţia Rusă să soluţioneze cu celeritate toate aspectele referitoare la returnarea bunurilor, proprietăţilor şi valorilor
culturale confiscate de la statele membre. Noi practic am reuşit să cuprindem prin cele două amendamente şi situaţia în
care se află celelalte bunuri confiscate de la statele membre. De exemplu, Bulgariei i s-a confiscat tot în acea perioadă
toate arhivele regale. Ei sunt foarte interesaţi să şi le poată recupera într-un timp relativ scurt. Iar acest amendament a
fost dublat tot de unul la fel de important, care condiţionează Rusia să poată să îşi indeplinească aceste obligaţii. Potrivit
amendamentului, dacă aceasta nu îşi îndeplineşte obligaţiile atunci va rămâne în continuare sub monitorizarea
Consiliului Europei, ceea ce este foarte neplăcut pentru un stat. Când un stat este monitorizat toate instituţiile, orice
gest politic, orice mişcare socială este foarte bine supravegheată.Acesta ne oferă garanţia că problema tezaurului, chiar
dacă nu se rezolvă în două, trei, cinci, şapte sesiuni rămâne în permanenţă în atenţia Consiliului Europei.
De ce a fost respins amendamentul zece, cel referitor la tezaur? Noi am venit cu un amendament foarte
individualizat între cele cinci în care spuneam clar: Tezaurul României va trebui retrocedat etc. Dar noi individualizând
foarte mult interesul nostru naţional riscam să punem problemele celorlalte state membre ale Consiliului pe planul doi.
Dar el este în continuare prezent prin amendamentul mai general care obligă Rusia să restituie bunurile confiscate.


Care sunt paşii următori? Toate aceste documente se transmit statelor membre şi se fac presiuni pe Rusia ca să
treacă la discuţii bilaterlae cu statele membre. Nu înseamnă că vom primi aurul înapoi peste un an.
Ce reacţie au avut ruşii? Reprezentanţii delegaţiei ruse au venit cu alte amendamente care să poată deturna ce am
propus noi sau au votat împotriva amendmentelor noastre. Nu este ca în Parlamentul României, să se poarte multe
discuţii. Cea mai importantă parte a discuţiilor are loc în culise. Din păcate, atunci când s-a adoptat rezoluţia, care este o
concluzie generală, nu am putut să trimitem până la Consiliul de Miniştri pentru că nu am avut două treimi din voturi.
Acolo toate deciziile trebuie luate în consens. Dar dat fiind că Rusia este sub monitorizare, acest raport poate fi reluat
într-un timp foarte scurt. Este un pas important pe care l-am făcut, noi niciodată nu am ajuns la acest nivel cu discuţiile
pe tezaur.
Povestea tezaurului românesc România s-ar fi putut clasa pe locul 13 în clasamentul mondial al rezervelor de aur,
deci cu aproape 20 de locuri mai sus decât poziţia ocupată acum, dacă nu am fi trimis ruşilor tezaurul în 1916 şi am fi
păstrat neatinsă rezerva de aur din 1944, potrivit lui Cristian Păunescu, consilier al guvernatorului băncii
centrale.Tezaurul trimis de România la Moscova în două faze, în 1916 şi 1917 includea, pe lângă multe obiecte de
patrimoniu, 91,2 tone de aur, nerecuperate până acum, şi care sunt evaluate în prezent la 13 miliarde de lei sau 3,2
miliarde de euro, potrivit datelor prezentate de Păunescu. Din această cantitate, circa 90% erau monede de aur, iar 10%
aur fin, sub formă de lingouri. Potrivit consilierului BNR, dacă celor 91 de tone de aur trimise la Moscova li s-ar adăuga
stocul de aur al BNR din 1944, de 244 tone de aur (fond folosit ulterior pentru a plăti datoriile către anumite ţări) şi cele
106 tone incluse în rezerva de aur a BNR astăzi, atunci s-ar ajunge la o cantitate totală de circa 440 de tone tone, care ar
poziţiona România pe locul 13 în lume din punct de vedere al rezervei de aur, imediat sub Banca Centrală Europeană,
aflată pe locul 12. În prezent, rezerva de aur a României ocupă poziţia 31 în acest clasament. De-a lungul timpului,
autorităţile locale au făcut încercări repetate de recuperare a tezaurului, răspunsul primit de la ruşi fiind de fiecare dată
evaziv. În 1921, autorităţile ruse au spus că "Rusia este dispusă să renunţe la tezaur dacă România renunţă la
Basarabia".Pe de altă parte, autorităţiele ruse puneau problema ca o parte din tezaur să rămână în Rusia, ca o
compensare pentru bunurile lăsate de ruşi pe teritoriul României în Primul Război Mondial, evaluate de aceştia la circa
1 miliard de lei. În 1916, valoarea tezaurului românesc trimis la Moscova se ridica la 9 miliarde de lei.În cele din urmă,
în 1935 Rusia a restituit României o parte din tezaur, în special documente, dar nu fondul de aur. Au fost înapoiate
României 1443 casete de valori şi 9 pachete cu 403 de manuscrise vechi, acte mânăstireşti şi plăcuţe funerare. În 1916,
când tezaurul a fost dat spre păstrare ruşilor, membrii familiei regale şi cei ai familiilor autorităţilor au trimis şi lucruri
fără valoare de patromoniu. Aşa încât, potrivit lui Cristian Păunescu, multe dintre pachetele restituite în 1935 conţineau
bancnote româneşti din 1916 şi chiar articole vestimentare. În 1956, Rusia a restituit o a doua parte din tezaur,
incluzând numeroase opere de artă şi alte obiecte de patrimoniu.

19.Părinţi străini pentru orfanii români
Autorităţile locale cer statului deblocarea adopţiilor internaţionale pentru copiii abandonaţi cu vârste mai mari de 5 ani
cărora nu li se pot găsi familii în ţara natală.Părinţii români caută pentru adopţie doar bebeluşi perfecţi. Foarte puţini
sunt cei care se arată interesaţi de un copil abandonat mai mare de 5 ani, mai ales dacă micuţul are vreun handicap sau
e de etnie romă. Aşa susţin reprezentanţii Direcţiei Generale de Asistenţă Socială şi Protecţia Copilului (DGASPC) din
sectorul 1 al Capitalei, care le cer acum guvernanţilor reluarea adopţiilor internaţionale, pentru a le găsi familii şi acestor
micuţi respinşi de societate în România.În încercarea de a evita însă redeschiderea adopţiilor internaţionale (la care s-a
renunţat din cauza scandalurilor iscate după ce multora dintre micuţii luaţi în grijă de familii din străinătate, imediat
după 1990, li s-a pierdut urma), mai-marii Oficiului Român pentru Adopţii (ORA) au găsit o soluţie de compromis:
copiii cărora nu li se găsesc părinţi în ţară să poată fi adoptaţi de cetăţeni români rezidenţi în străinătate.Propunerea se
regăseşte şi în proiectul viitoarei Legi a adopţiei, care urmează să primească avizul specialiştilor înainte de a ajunge pe
masa executivului. 12% dintre români acceptă şi un copil mai mare de 5 ani„Din evidenţa Biroului de Adopţii şi Post
Adopţii al DGASPC Sector 1 s-a observat că, deşi numărul copiilor adoptabili cu vârste sub 2-3 ani este foarte mic,
părinţii adoptivi nu sunt deschişi adopţiei copiilor de vârste mai mari”, explică directorul DGASPC Sector 1, Dănuţ
Fleacă. Situaţia din această zonă a Bucureştiului e valabilă şi la nivel naţional. Astfel, ultimul „bilanţ” realizat de ORA,
valabil pentru anul 2008, arată că mai mult de jumătate dintre cei peste 2.600 de români cu atestat de părinte adoptiv
le-au cerut autorităţilor un copil mai mic de 3, maximum 5 ani. Doar 12% dintre aceştia s-au arătat interesaţi şi de copii
mai mari. Pe seama respingerii acestor micuţi pun specialiştii şi faptul că numărul adopţiilor stagnează, în timp ce
numărul copiilor adoptabili creşte. Concluzia: deşi sunt conştienţi că numărul copiilor foarte mici e redus reprezentând doar jumătate din cel al familiilor atestate pentru adopţie la nivel naţional -, românii sunt dispuşi să
aştepte ani buni pentru bebeluşi cărora să le devină părinţi, în detrimentul copiilor mai mari.Mai grav este faptul că nici


programele de consiliere şi nici cursurile de pregătire pentru viitorul rol de „părinte-adoptiv”, organizate în cadrul
Birourilor de Adopţii pentru românii care sau arătat interesaţi să înfieze un copil, nu i-au convins pe aceştia că şi micuţii
mai mari de 5 ani au nevoie de o familie.„Toate aceste servicii îşi propun să le ofere viitorilor părinţi o imagine realistă
cu privire la copiii adoptabili şi la nevoile lor, precum şi să determine o creştere a numărului de copii adoptaţi, inclusiv a
celor cu vârsta mai mare de 5 ani şi a copiilor de etnie romă. (...) În cadrul acestor programe, părinţii şi-au exprimat
aşteptările privind vârsta copiilor, constatându-se astfel preferinţe majoritare pentru copiii sub 3 ani”, a explicat, cu
regret, directorul Dănuţ Fleacă.Iar cifrele spun totul: dacă, în 2008, 3 familii din sectorul 1 şiau manifestat dorinţa de a
adopta un copil între 7-9 ani, anul trecut o singură familie a optat pentru un micuţ din această categorie de vârstă. Tot
câte o familie şi-a dorit un copil între 10- 12 ani, atât în 2008, cât şi în 2009.Altfel stau lucrurile când vine vorba despre
copii mici: 11 familii au vrut să adopte un copil de 4-6 ani, în 2008, iar cifra a urcat la 14 anul trecut. La mare diferenţă
se află părinţii care vor un copil mai mic de 3 ani, 24 la număr. „Statul trebuie să ia măsuri în privinţa reluării adopţiilor
internaţionale, deoarece ani de-a rândul le-a refuzat copiilor de vârstă mare dreptul la o familie. (...) Lipsa de reacţie a
statului nu e un motiv să-i privăm pe copiii de vârstă mare de dreptul la o familie. Elaborarea prin lege a unor proceduri
clare, transparente privind adopţia internaţională poate facilita fiecărui copil accesul la o familie, când condiţiile legale
pri vind adopţia sunt îndeplinite”, conchide Fleacă.„Deocamdată, nu există o cerere de deblocare a adopţiilor
internaţionale, concertată, la nivelul întregii Capitale”, îi dă replica directorul Direcţiei de Asistenţă Socială a Primăriei
Bucureşti, Cosmina Simean. Iar reprezentanţii ORA ridică din umeri: „Deblocarea adopţiilor este o chestiune ce ţine,
până la urmă, de o decizie politică”.O şansă le e acordată totuşi copiilor mai mari de 5 ani prin proiectul noii Legi a
adopţiei. Acesta prevede că cetăţenii români rezidenţi în străinătate pot adopta copii pentru care nu s-au găsit părinţi în
ţară. Asta însă în decursul a doi ani de când micuţii au fost declaraţi adoptabili de către instanţă.Potrivit proiectului
realizat de experţii ORA, „a fost prevăzută pentru adopţia internaţională o perioadă de acomodare de 15 zile, pe care
solicitanţii trebuie să o petreacă în România împreună cu copilul”.O eventuală încuviinţare pentru ca un copil să
petreacă a ceas tă perioadă de acomodare în străinătate „nu e oportună”. Motivul: „Nu există un mecanism eficient de
colaborare cu autorităţile din toate statele, prin care situaţia micuţului să poată fi verificată pe riodic, şi, implicit, nu
există certitudinea că la sfârşitul acestei perioade copilul va fi readus în ţară fie pentru în cuviinţarea adopţiei, fie pentru
a fi lăsat în continuare în grija statului dacă nu se acomodează. (...) Se poate ajunge chiar în situaţia de a pierde urma
copilului, aşa cum s-a mai întâmplat în trecut cu o parte dintre copiii români adoptaţi în străinătate”, au conchis oficialii

Poliţiştii Serviciului de Combatere a Criminalităţii Organizate Buzău şi procurorii D.I.I.C.O.T. – Biroul Teritorial Buzău
au destructurat o grupare de traficanţi de persoane. În urma percheziţiilor efectuate la locuinţele suspecţilor, au fost
identificate şi ridicate mai multe înscrisuri şi s-a dispus indisponibilizarea unui imobil.La data de 25 iulie a.c., poliţiştii
Serviciului de Combatere a Criminalităţii Organizate Buzău, cu sprijinul poliţiştilor din cadrul I.P.J. Buzău, sub
coordonarea procurorilor D.I.I.C.O.T. – Biroul Teritorial Buzău, au efectuat percheziţii domiciliare la locuinţele a patru
bărbaţi din comuna Topliceni, judeţul Buzău, cu vârste cuprinse între 35 şi 54 de ani (fraţi), suspectaţi de trafic de
persoane.Poliţiştii au găsit şi ridicat în vederea continuării cercetărilor mai multe înscrisuri şi au indisponibilizat un
imobil. Suspecţii au fost conduşi la sediul D.I.I.C.O.T. - Biroul Teritorial Buzău pentru audieriCei patru fraţi sunt
suspectaţi că, în perioada octombrie 2011 - iunie 2013, ar fi racolat, din mai multe comune, din judeţul Buzău, şase
persoane care erau în vârstă sau prezentau deficienţe fizice, şi le-ar fi transportat pe teritoriul Franţei, unde le-ar fi
obligat să practice cerşetoria. Banii astfel obţinuţi ar fi fost însuşiţi în totalitate de cei patru suspecţi, o parte fiind
investiţi în achiziţionarea unui imobil. Trei suspecţi au fost reţinuţi pentru 24 de ore, sub aspectul săvârşirii
infracţiunilor de iniţierea sau constituirea ori aderarea sau sprijinirea sub orice formă a unui grup, în vederea săvârşirii
de infracţiuni, care nu este, potrivit legii, un grup infracţional organizat şi trafic de personae. Aceştia vor fi prezentaţi în
cursul zilei de astăzi magistraţilor de la Tribunalul Buzău, cu propunerea de arestare preventivă. Împotriva celui de-al
patrulea suspect a fost dispună măsura obligării de a nu părăsi localitatea.


21.Organizarea justiţiei in statele membre UE
Sistemele judiciare ale statelor membre sunt foarte diverse, reflectând diferenţe în practicile judiciare naţionale. În
general, se pot identifica totuşi două tipuri de instanţe în fiecare stat membru:

cele care sancţionează infracţiuni care aduc atingere persoanelor, proprietăţii sau societăţii (precum crima,
furtul, vandalismul etc.); aceste instanţe pot aplica sancţiuni şi poartă numele de instanţe penale;
cele care soluţionează litigii între persoane fizice sau societăţi comerciale (divorţ, o problemă legată de chirie,
concediere, etc.) şi care sunt instanţele civile. Alte instanţe, precum instanţele administrative sau fiscale, pot
soluţiona litigii între persoane fizice sau societăţi şi autorităţile publice.

Conceptul de drept civil şi competenţele diferitelor instanţe pot varia considerabil de la un stat membru la altul. Unele
instanţe pot avea o jurisdicţie extrem de generală sau, din contră, se pot specializa în diferite domenii, precum
conflictele de muncă, relaţiile comerciale, sau problemele familiale. În plus, fiecare stat membru are un
sistem de recurs, care oferă posibilitatea de a solicita ca un caz pentru care s-a pronunţat deja o hotărâre să fie
reanalizat de o instanţă superioară.
Dacă sunteţi în litigiu cu o altă persoană, iar unul dintre dumneavoastră se hotărăşte să intenteze acţiune în justiţie, veţi
lua contact cu diferiţi membri ai profesiilor juridice.Aceştia nu au aceleaşi titluri în toate statele membre, iar rolul
şi statutul lor pot varia considerabil de la un stat membru la altul.În general, diversele profesii juridice sunt după
cum urmează:
-Judecătorii sunt persoanele care se pronunţă asupra cauzei. Aceştia îşi exercită puterea independent.
-Procurorii sunt implicaţi cu precădere în cauze penale, dar pot acţiona şi în numele societăţii în anumite cauze civile,
implicând adopţia, de exemplu, sau filiaţia.
-Grefierii şi arhivarii au sarcini administrative în cadrul tribunalelor.
-Avocaţii consiliază persoanele implicate în litigii şi îi reprezintă în justiţie. În majoritatea statelor membre, avocaţii
pot fi numiţi şi de tribunal pentru a asista sau a reprezenta gratuit persoane cu venituri insuficiente. Faceţi clic pe
"Asistenţă juridică" pentru a obţine informaţii suplimentare asupra acestui subiect.
-În unele state membre, una dintre responsabilităţile unui aprod este aceea de a notifica citaţii.
În unele cazuri, puteţi sau chiar aveţi obligaţia să prezentaţi cauza altcuiva decât judecătorului, de exemplu unui
mediator sau unui arbitru. Statele membre ale Uniunii Europene reglementează profesiile juridice.Deşi pot exista
asemănări fireşti între reglementări, acestea diferă considerabil de la o ţară la alta deoarece oglindesc prelungirea unor
tradiţii adesea ancestrale. Există relativ puţine acte normative comunitare sau internaţionale privind profesiile juridice.
Reglementările existente sunt privite în general din punct de vedere naţional.
În cazul în care doriţi să introduceţi o acţiune în justiţie, trebuie să identificaţi instanţa judecătorească competentă sau,
cu alte cuvinte, instanţa care are competenţa judiciară să judece litigiul dumneavoastră. Dacă nu sesizaţi instanţa
competentă, sau dacă există un conflict cu privire la competenţa judiciară, riscaţi o considerabilă întârziere a judecării
litigiului şi chiar respingerea cauzei dumneavoastră pe motivul lipsei de competenţă.Imaginaţi-vă o situaţie în care vă
aflaţi în litigiu cu o companie, cu o persoană care îşi exercită profesia pe cont propriu, cu angajatorul dumneavoastră, cu
un membru al familiei dumneavoastră sau cu oricine altcineva din ţara dumneavoastră sau din străinătate. Odată ce
eforturile de soluţionare amiabilă a litigiului au eşuat, este posibil să doriţi să intentaţi o acţiune în justiţie împotriva
celeilalte părţi. Dar cum puteţi şti cărei instanţe să vă adresaţi? Trebuie să sesizaţi instanţa judecătorească de la
domiciliul pârâtului, sau instanţa locului în care trebuia executată obligaţia contractuală? Regulile referitoare la
competenţă depind de natura litigiului (contract, despăgubiri) în cauză? Toate statele membre au reguli diferite
referitoare la competenţa judiciară, care determină competenţa instanţelor de pe teritoriul lor. În cazul în care un litigiu


are o dimensiune internaţională şi implică, de exemplu, părţi domiciliate în state membre diferite, regulile care vă pot
indica instanţele cărui stat membru au competenţa să judece litigiul sunt cuprinse într-un regulament comunitar
adoptat în 2000. Există, de asemenea, o convenţie internaţională, încheiată în 1988, care reglementează competenţa
judiciară în cazul litigiilor în care sunt implicate state membre şi state nemembre ale UE care sunt părţi la prezenta
convenţie. În afara sferei de aplicare a acestei convenţii, în cazul litigiilor care au o dimensiune internaţională,
implicând un stat membru al Uniunii Europene şi un stat nemembru, competenţa judiciară este reglementată adesea în
cadrul tratatelor internaţionale încheiate între acele state.
În cazul în care doriţi să introduceţi o acţiune în justiţie, trebuie să luaţi în considerare necesitatea respectării anumitor
reguli procedurale. Aceste reguli variază în funcţie de modul de sesizare a instanţei, scopul principal al acestora
fiind să vă ajute să prezentaţi instanţei elementele de fapt şi de drept într-un mod suficient de precis şi de complet
pentru a permite acesteia să examineze admisibilitatea cererii şi fondul cauzei dumneavoastră.Modurile de
sesizare diferă de la un stat membru la altul. Există, de asemenea, diferenţe în cadrul aceluiaşi stat membru, în
funcţie de natura şi circumstanţele cererii, precum şi în funcţie de tipul de instanţă. Pentru anumite tipuri de
cauze, sesizarea instanţei poate presupune completarea unui formular sau constituirea unui întreg dosar referitor
la litigiu. În unele cazuri, sesizarea instanţei se poate face şi oral. Aceste diferenţe îşi găsesc explicaţia în faptul că
litigiile aduse în faţa instanţelor sunt, de asemenea, foarte diverse: prin natura lor, acestea pot fi mai uşor sau mai
greu de soluţionat. Este foarte important să vă asiguraţi că nu aţi omis nici un element, pentru a facilita munca
judecătorului, pentru a permite celeilalte părţi să se apere în mod corespunzător şi pentru a asigura buna
desfăşurare a întregii proceduri. Uniunea Europeană are drept obiectiv crearea unui veritabil spaţiu de justiţie,
astfel cum a fost definit acesta de către Consiliul European. Accesul la justiţie joacă un rol major în cadrul acestui
program de acţiune. Obiectivul urmărit constă în acordarea posibilităţii cetăţenilor europeni de a se adresa
instanţelor din alt stat membru la fel de uşor ca şi instanţelor din propria lor ţară.


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