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Meeting of justice ministers in Luxembourg

At the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting, the ministers of justice discussed current activities regarding war crimes in Ukraine. Minister Dr Dominika Švarc Pipan condemned Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, especially the attacks on civilians.

The Presidency presented the current activities regarding war crimes in Ukraine and the fight against impunity in the light of the initiative of the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and Ukraine to establish a special tribunal to punish the crime of aggression committed against Ukraine. During the discussion, Minister Švarc Pipan highlighted Slovenia’s further support for lasting peace and preservation of territorial integrity of Ukraine and added that "all war and other international crimes committed in the territory of Ukraine must be investigated and perpetrators prosecuted." In this light, the Minister emphasised Slovenia’s active participation in the drafting of a new convention on international cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and other international crimes, and announced a diplomatic conference to be held in Ljubljana in May 2023, "It is only with cooperation between the authorities competent for investigation and prosecution that those responsible for the crimes are justly and appropriately punished for their conduct."

At today’s meeting, the ministers also discussed judicial training and its impact on the efficiency and the rule of law. During a working lunch, the ministers together with the Director of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights discussed the observance of fundamental rights at the time of crises with an emphasis on the experience from the COVID-19 pandemic and when dealing with the consequences of the war in Ukraine.

In the discussion regarding the proposal for a revision of the directive on the protection of the environment through criminal law, Slovenia expressed a desire for a further in-depth discussion regarding the setting of monetary sanctions against legal entities, as this involves a precedent and far-reaching provision.

The Commission introduced to the ministers the situation regarding the operations of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, particularly the activities in connection with the expiry of the term of office of certain prosecutors, possible expansion of the prosecution’s jurisdiction and open issues linked to the Office’s cooperation with third countries.

The Commission also informed them of the first report on the implementation of Directive (EU) 2016/680 on the protection of personal data for the purposes of the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences, and the developments relating to the EU-US transatlantic data transfer. It is anticipated that the European Commission will submit the first draft of the adequacy decision to the Member States and the European Data Protection Board by the end of November 2022.

The Czech Presidency reported on the workshop addressing the issues of cross-border protection of vulnerable adults who, due to their physical or mental disabilities or old age, cannot appropriately protect their interests. The European Commission is preparing a new legal instrument to upgrade the Hague Convention relating to the cross-border protection of adults and regulate in more detail the cooperation between the EU Member States. The proposal will be introduced in spring 2023 and will be based on the modernisation and digitalisation of mutual cooperation.

In the margins of the justice ministers’ meeting, Minister Švarc Pipan met with the German Federal Minister of Justice, Dr Marco Buschmann, and the Austrian Federal Minister of Justice, Dr Alma Zadić. The Slovenian Minister also visited the Court of Justice of the European Union where she met its President Dr Koen Lenaerts, and Slovenian judges, Dr Marko Ilešič and Dr Damjan Kukovec.