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Genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes: investigation and prosecution

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Genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes: investigation and prosecution

SUMMARY OF:

Decision 2003/335/JHA — investigation and prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes

SUMMARY

WHAT DOES THE DECISION DO?

It lays down a framework to improve cooperation between EU countries in the investigation and prosecution of actual or suspected perpetrators of genocide*, crimes against humanity* and war crimes*.

KEY POINTS

  • EU countries are required to inform law enforcement authorities when there is a suspicion that an applicant for a residence permit has committed any of the crimes listed above. The authorities may then begin criminal proceedings in an EU country or in international criminal courts.
  • EU countries are to assist one another in investigating and prosecuting the crimes. To help with that process, they may set up specialist units within their law enforcement authorities.
  • EU countries are required to coordinate ongoing efforts to investigate and prosecute persons suspected of having committed or participated in the crimes listed above. The contact points of the European Genocide Network are to meet at regular intervals in order to exchange information about experiences, practices and methods. These meetings may take place in conjunction with European Judicial Network meetings.
  • This decision helps implement the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which aims to ensure none of the crimes listed above go unpunished.
  • The Eurojust network aids the investigation and prosecution process.

FROM WHEN DOES THE DECISION APPLY?

It has applied since 14 May 2003.

BACKGROUND

Following the genocide, crimes and against humanity and war crimes that took place in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Tribunals have been investigating, prosecuting and bringing to justice the perpetrators. However, successful outcomes of the investigation and prosecution of such crimes require close cooperation at international levels.

KEY TERMS

* Genocide: acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group.

* Crimes against humanity: acts committed as part of a widespread and systematic attack directed against civilian populations.

* War crimes: acts committed that violate the law of war (e.g. the Geneva Conventions). Examples include mistreating prisoners-of-war, killing hostages, or deliberately destroying cities, towns or villages.

MAIN DOCUMENT

Council Decision 2003/335/JHA of 8 May 2003 on the investigation and prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes (OJ L 118, 14.5.2003, pp. 12–14)

last update 28.06.2016

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