New project: Cross Border Execution of Sentences between Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands (CrossBES)

New project: Cross Border Execution of Sentences between Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands (CrossBES) The focus of cross border cooperation in criminal matters has until now always been on the investigation phase. The enforcement of penalties is never a central theme. Nonetheless it is an equally important aspect of the enforcement of criminal law, especially in the fight against organised crime and terrorism. Experiences have shown that sentenced persons use/abuse the borders to hinder the correct, adequate and timely execution of their sentences. The absence of a swift and clear response, in particularly across borders, results in impunity, a sense of insecurity and injustice.
In each of the three countries (the Netherlands and Belgium, Germany) several reports of national authorities show that the execution of sentences is inadequate. The objective of this project is to improve judicial cooperation in the field of Cross Border Execution of Sentences (CrossBES) between the three countries and other EU-countries, contribute to the effective and coherent application of the EU legal framework, strengthen mutual confidence, trust, recognition and the network of legal practitioners and to prevent convicted persons from abusing borders to escape punishment.

To successfully execute sentences across borders, increase the level of reintegration of the convicted person into society, the sense of security and decrease impunity, it is imperative that neighbouring countries know each others’ and EU’s possibilities, limitations and structures in this field.

Building on “BES Practice”, the partners within the project want to create a network of practitioners and to improve the knowledge and cooperation in this field, by offering the practitioners the outcome of a comparative law study including the (new) EU framework decisions, three in-depth trainings and a practical guide being the roadmap on how to successfully execute sentences across borders.

The aim of the comparative law study is to inform legal practitioners of the legal framework/system/structure of each of the three participating countries and to create cross border understanding. This study will give practitioners working in the field of CrossBES an overview of the legal possibilities and allow them to choose the best option to execute the sentence in a specific case. Different from other studies, this comparative law study will actually be used as a reference book. After all, in the execution phase, practitioners can take the time to decide upon the best option for each individual case, taking into account the legal possibilities, the position of the victim, social importance and reintegration of the convicted person into society.