6 February 2023 (updated 3 months ago)
Latest editorials All articles
Non-Conviction Based Forfeiture in Canada: The Example of Three Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Clubhouses
A 2023 non-conviction based (NCB) forfeiture order was recently issued against three clubhouses in Canada. Each served as the chapter headquarters for an outlaw motorcycle gang. Clubhouses form the base of operations for their organized criminal activities. The protracted litigation started in 2007, and a Canadian appellate court found in February 2023 that the clubhouses were forfeitable as instruments, as they supported the organized criminal activities of outlaw motorcycle gangs. The court overturned a trial ruling that part of the NCB law was unconstitutional. The court also held that each clubhouse served as a “safe house” for the respective gang, namely as a place where business could be conducted away from the prying eyes of the police. The clubhouses were also intelligence hubs, where members could discuss their criminal business, their rivals, and the techniques used by police to interdict them. Lastly, the court found that each clubhouse operated as … Read more
Towards an Integrative Model of Internet Regulation
Limitations associated with online regulatory frameworks can be better understood by integrating pertinent insights from medicine and theoretical biology. Using insights from the biopsychosocial model, we argue that contemporary Internet regulations are problematic for three reasons. First, they pay insufficient attention to the unique structural characteristics of our digital media ecology, which raise significant epistemological concerns for online regulators. Second, differences in human rights protection and constitutional structure present further challenges requiring keen sensitivity to political and constitutional contexts for optimizing regulatory calibration. Third, our digital media landscape is dominated by private digital platforms whose unprecedented power and business models increasingly imperil the quality and quantity of public discourse, and facilitate privatization of government censorship under the rubric of human rights protection. Without carefully considering these structural differences, regulators – much like physicians – can too easily find themselves treating only symptoms rather than the underlying ailment.Read more
“Legalize It!?” – Opportunities and Challenges for the Regulation of Cannabis under European Law
Is Legalisation Legal?
Following similar developments in other parts of the world (e.g. Uruguay, Canada, United States, Thailand), several countries in the EU are questioning or openly challenging the prohibitionist paradigm that has so far dominated international drug control law. Possibly the most far-reaching approach is contained in the concept paper (Eckpunktepapier) adopted by the German Federal Government in October 2022, which would provide for the comprehensive regulation of cannabis for recreational use from “seed to sale”. While the legality of this approach under public international and EU law has been called into question, this article shows that a responsible regulation of cannabis is not only desirable from a policy perspective but also legally feasible.Read more
Limitations of the Transnational ne bis in idem Principle in EU Law
Remarks on the ECJ’s Diesel Scandal Volkswagen Case
The ne bis in idem principle is one of the most fundamental guarantees in criminal procedure law. It prohibits a second prosecution in cases that have already been concluded by a final decision. According to the traditional understanding, the principle excludes a duplication of proceedings only within the same jurisdiction. Art. 50 CFR, however, which was incorporated into primary EU law by Art. 6 TEU, extends the principle’s scope to the transnational sphere to the effect that a final decision in one Member State constitutes a bar to new proceedings in other Member States of the EU as well. While this transnational ne bis in idem guarantee in principle allows for limitations, these must meet the requirements provided for by Art. 52 para. 1 CFR.
The pending Case C-27/22, which has its roots in the diesel scandal involving German automobile producer Volkswagen, gives the Court of Justice of the European … Read more
Using US Artificial Intelligence to Fight Human Trafficking in Europe
Potential Impacts on European Sovereignties
Human trafficking is keeping pace with new technologies, but so is its repression. Nowadays, artificial intelligence (AI) systems support the daily work of law enforcement authorities in detecting and investigating trafficking schemes. These systems were developed, and are used primarily, in the United States of America (US). As the fight against human trafficking is a worldwide priority, they are often exported from the US or replicated. Yet, so far, little research has been done to examine how (US) policies and values might be embedded in these specific systems. This article argues that the spread of US tools using artificial intelligence to combat human trafficking hinders the autonomy of foreign States. Particularly in the European context, these tools might challenge national criminal sovereignty as well as Europe’s digital sovereignty. The article highlights the US policies surrounding human trafficking that are embedded in these AI systems (legal definition, political priorities and decisions) … Read more
Criminal and Administrative Procedures in Protecting the Financial Interests of the EU
EPPO and OLAF – Cooperation by Design
This article argues that, with the establishment of the EPPO, the European Union intended to pursue, through the integration of procedural powers vested within the EPPO and OLAF, the creation of an “end-to-end” prosecution cycle that is able to seek both criminal penalties and administrative/financial sanctions, such as asset forfeiture and the restoration of damages caused by violations and misuse of EU funds. The authors reach the conclusion that this newly established holistic approach for the prosecution of administrative violations and criminal activities increases the effectiveness of the work of all EU bodies in tackling crime, securing punishments for the criminal perpetrators, and increasing the possibility for the misappropriated funds to be recovered.
The article further stresses that, for the purposes of a proper investigation, administrative and criminal investigative work can often overlap. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to ensure coordination between all investigative bodies. In this context, the article … Read more