The Second AIDP World Conference - Bucharest, 18-20 May 2016

BUCHAREST, 18-20 MAY 2016
Between May 18-20, 2016, Bucharest (Romania) has hosted the Second World
Conference of the International Association of Criminal Law (IACL), having as
main topic “The Protection of the Environment through Criminal Law”. Held in
collaboration with the Institute for Legal Research of the Romanian Academy (ICJ),
the Ecological University of Bucharest, and the Romanian Association of Penal
Sciences, the World Conference offered the possibility of a global debate on an
issue of maximum importance and actuality.
Environmental criminality is becoming more and more important, both at a
national and international level, and has already reached a fourth position
amongst international illicit activities, after drug trafficking, counterfeiting, and
human trafficking. Its object constitutes of the human beings and their living
environment, and/or the environment itself, as a general support for all life.
Stating and asserting an adequate and efficient criminal law response imply a
significant creative effort, and also the integration of the particularities of the new
field, in the context of criminal law.
Criminal protection of the environment finds itself in the midst a gradual
effort, where criminal law stands as a final solution, adequate, proportional to the
present interests, to the gravity of the damage or the guilt of the offenders; and
such a reasoning involves a double conjoint movement: on the one hand, of
adapting and harmonizing internal legal systems, and on the other hand, of
internationalizing criminal protection of the environment, both resulting in
criminal environmental law.
By taking into account, amongst its priority scientific concerns, environmental
protection by means of criminal law, the IACL continues its tradition, reacts to the
new social major challenges, i.e. the environmental and ecological imperative, thus
consolidating the future status of criminal law.
With the participation of renowned specialists, representing the major legal
schools and systems of the world, the reunion proposes the following thematic
areas: The situation of the environment and challenges of the legal system to
provide protection (Prof. Tudorel Toader, “Al. I. Cuza” University of Iaşi,
Romania); Limitations and challenges of the criminal justice system in addressing
Law Review vol. I, issue 1, January-June 2016, p. 2-4
The Second AIDP World Conference – Bucharest, 18-20 May 2016 3
environmental crime (Prof. Michel Faure, Maastricht University, The Netherlands);
International environmental norms and standards: compliance and enforcement
(Prof. Gert Vermeulen, University of Gent, Belgium); Environmental crime in the
EU: Is there a need for further harmonisation or for new enforcement tools? (Prof.
Mircea Duţu, Legal Research Institute of the Romanian Academy); Can Laudato Si’
(Pope Francis’s Environmental Encyclical) inspire regulations to protect our
Common Home? (Roberto Manuel Carles, the Latin-American Association of
Criminal Law and Criminology, Argentina); The interaction of various
enforcement regimes in the fight against environmental crime (EU, USA, South
American, and Asian enforcement perspectives); The role and liability of states and
corporations for environmental crimes – the perspective of international law (Prof.
Ilias Plakokefalos, Utrecht University, The Netherlands); Environmental Crimes
and the International Criminal Court (Prof. Zlata Djurdevic, University of Zagreb,
Croatia); The protection of bio-diversity; Prosecuting environmental crime;
Procedural safeguards and the interaction between administrative and penal
enforcement; Particular problems in international cooperation for the prosecution
of environmental crimes (Prof. John Vervaele, University of Utrecht, The
Netherlands), the role of NGOs etc.
The Conference was opened by high representatives of the field of criminal
prosecution and government officials, precisely Mr. Augustin Lazăr, General
Prosecutor of Romania, and Mrs. Erik Stanciu, State Secretary in the Ministry of
Environment. Prosecutor General Lazăr pointed out the importance of specialized
prosecutors in the field of environment, and also of specialized prosecution offices,
uniting both lawyers and other experts – scientist, criminologist e.a. - in the fields
relevant to prosecuting environmental crime.
In the final report, the Honorary President Jose Luis de la Cuesta has
formulated the following recommendations, to be taken into account in the process
of further uniformisation of the environmental criminal regulations, at least from
an European perspective: reforming the system created by the Directive
99/2008/CE, by consolidating the harmonization level according to art. 83 par. (1)
of the TFEU, regulating the possibility of establishing minimal norms on defining
crimes in fields of special gravity; extending the competences of the EU in the field
of criminal law, by adding environmental crime to the list of crime as provided by
art. 83 par. (1) as expression of a consolidated competence; consolidating the
harmonization by means of EU mechanisms of insuring the transposition in the
national legal systems of the member states of the 99/2008/CE directive;
harmonizing the provisions of the Directive with the other regulations incident in
the field.; correlation and simplification of the EU regulations in matters of
environmental protection through criminal law; connecting the EU harmonization
initiatives to the international agenda-concerns regarding the drafting of a
Suppression convention on serious environmental crimes and/or a specific certain
conventions on eco-crimes or ecocide.
At an international level, Professor de la Cuesta has proposed that “it is
recommended for states to include in their criminal policy of environmental
protection the international cooperation dimension, involving in their strategies
civil society (specialized NGO’s, reliable business actors) and including rights of
suspects and victims in the international judicial cooperation mechanisms”.
Furthermore, it is recommended to states and to the international community to
elaborate a “Suppression Treaty” about serious violations to ecosystems and
criminal justice, in order to assure the punishment of the most serious aggressions
to the environment that should be considered international crimes.