EU agrees to network criminal records

13th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

13 June 2007, Luxembourg (dpa) - European Union justice ministers on Wednesday agreed to network their criminal records in a bid to prevent delinquents from committing further offences in other EU countries. The planned rules would "prevent criminals from moving freely across the EU," EU justice commissioner Franco Frattini told reporters after a meeting with the bloc's justice chiefs. "Information on previous convictions does not circulate properly between EU member states," Frattini added. National gover

13 June 2007

Luxembourg (dpa) - European Union justice ministers on Wednesday agreed to network their criminal records in a bid to prevent delinquents from committing further offences in other EU countries.

The planned rules would "prevent criminals from moving freely across the EU," EU justice commissioner Franco Frattini told reporters after a meeting with the bloc's justice chiefs.

"Information on previous convictions does not circulate properly between EU member states," Frattini added.

National governments still have to approve the plans.

Under the new legislation, the 27 member states would be obliged to inform the home country about criminal convictions of nationals from other EU countries "as soon as possible."

For example, the conviction and sentence of a German, sentenced in France to three years in prison because of a sexual criminal offence, would have to be sent to German authorities.

Frattini said that the planned data-sharing system in particular would help prevent convicted child abusers move easily from one EU country to another to take up employment with access to children.

Belgium had pushed for the new rules following the 2004 case of French sex offender Michel Fourniret who gained employment in a Belgium school after his conviction in France.

The case highlighted a serious failure between neighbouring member states to share information on convicted criminals.

Fourniret has confessed to have raped and murdered nine girls in a span of fourteen years during the 1980s and the 1990s.

Fourniret says he did not commit any crimes between 1990 and 2000. But police in at least five EU countries have taken a fresh look at old rapes, disappearances and murders.

Currently, EU countries have to make available information on national criminal records only once a year.

Under the new rules, judicial authorities in the bloc would also be allowed to obtain information from the criminal records of other EU member states within ten days.

Ministers said that the rules on faster exchange of criminal registers were a first step to an online data communication between EU countries. Six EU countries already transfer information from their criminal records via the internet.

DPA

Subject: German news

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