ANABI - partner in RECOVER PROJECT, which aims to improve the implementation of Regulation no. 1805/2018 (REG) on the mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders
Recover Project: Mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders between efficiency and the rule of law (JUST-2022-JCOO) has been selected for European Commission funding.
This project will be carried out by the Universita Degli Studi di Catania (Catania, Italy), in collaboration with the National Agency for the Management of Seized Assets (hereafter ANABI) and 9 other partners from Italy, France, Belgium, Poland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, and Portugal, between 1 December 2022 and 30 November 2024.
About the project
RECOVER project aims to improve the implementation of Regulation (EU) 2018/1805 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 November 2018 on the mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders as an essential cooperation tool in the fight against organized and economic crime.
The RECOVER project is the first impact assessment on Regulation 2018/1805 from a substantive criminal law perspective. It aims to create a network of prosecutors' offices, judicial authorities, and Asset Recovery Offices (AROs) in 10 EU Member States, not only to identify and overcome legal problems related to the interpretation of Regulation 2018/1805 but also to create substantive conditions for its implementation in line with the rule of law, enhancing mutual trust and harmonization.
RECOVER PROJECT aims to achieve the following objectives:
- to establish the subject matter of Regulation 2018/1805 by clarifying the concept of "proceedings in criminal matters" (Article 1 of the Regulation);
- to identify the models of seizure and confiscation orders covered by Regulation 2018/1805 in each Member State;
- identification of safeguards in the mutual recognition procedure between Member States;
- highlighting the main obstacles and legal issues in the implementation of Regulation 2018/1805 and sharing best practices;
- assessing the possibility of applying Regulation 2018/1805 also to legal persons;
- dentifying legal and practical difficulties encountered in working in ARO;
- promoting the effective management of seized assets, the protection of victims' rights, and the social re-use of seized assets.
These objectives will be attained by:
- Creating a partner Member State network through the elaboration of National reports using questionnaires and through workshops as a tool for direct dialogue;
- Involving non-partner Member States in expert interviews, dissemination workshops, and international seminars with a view to mutual learning that will support the harmonization of the way Regulation 1805/2018 is being implemented.
Best practices, guidelines as well as reform proposals will be collected in a comprehensive database that will be available to all EU Member States for the purpose of successful implementation of Regulation 1805/2018.
RECOVER project launch meeting
On 15 January 2023, the kick-off meeting of the RECOVER project - Mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders between efficiency and the rule of law - took place, bringing together several members of the consortium.
During the meeting, which was organized virtually through the MsTeams online platform to ensure that all partners could participate in a safe and cost-effective way, the project coordinator, Prof. Anna Maria Maugeri, Professor of Criminal Law at the University of Catania, explained the aim and scientific content of the project.
During the meeting, the consortium planned the organization of activities for the next six months of the RECOVER project, discussing the next steps of the research, namely:
- the drafting of national reports based on questionnaires on the identification of national confiscation models subject to the Regulation;
- Organising the first online workshop in January 2023 on „The concept of proceedings in criminal matters under Art. 1 of the ERW - related safeguards”;
- planning the second workshop with physical and online attendance in April 2023 on the topic „National confiscation models covered by the ERW - proposals for harmonisation”.
The first workshop of the RECOVER project
On Tuesday 31st of January 2023, the 1st workshop of the project RECOVER - Mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders between efficiency and the rule of law was held gathering several members of the consortium and some external experts by the online platform MsTeams.
It was focused on the explanation of the subject matter of Regulation n. 1805/2018 on mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders, and in particular on the interpretation of the concept of “proceeding in criminal matters” mentioned in Article 1 EU Reg. and the related safeguards.
The meeting was organized in three panels, in which some presentations were given by qualified rapporteurs as well as moments of debate among the representatives of the partners took place.
In particular Professor Maugeri, the scientific Coordinator of the project (UNICT), gave an introductory speech about the concept of "proceeding in criminal matter" in the EU Reg.; Mr. Antonio Balsamo, Judge, and President of the Tribunal of Palermo, discussed above the safeguards in the proceeding in criminal matter; Prof. Paulo Pinto de Albuquerque, Professor of Criminal law at Catholic University of Lisbon and former judge of the ECourtHR explained the European Court of Human Right's case law on the concept of proceeding in criminal matter and the proceedings for the application of extended and non-conviction based confiscation; Mr. Filippo Spezia, Head of the Italian Desk of Eurojust, gave a speech on the interpretation of proceeding in criminal matter in the first praxis.
Besides these presentations, the core moment of the project was the debate among the partners, who had the chance to discuss on the concept of „proceeding in criminal matter”, its scope of application in European countries as well as the guarantees that this type of proceedings must offer.
The second workshop of RECOVER project
On Thursday 13th and Friday 14th of April 2023 the 2nd workshop of the project RECOVER - Mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders between efficiency and the rule of law was held gathering most of the members of the consortium in Catania, with the participation of the members of the advisory and monitoring boards and of other experts by the online platform MsTeams.
The two-day workshop was focused on the analysis of the confiscation models of the European countries involved in the project and on the identification of prospects for the harmonization of their legal systems. During the first day – after the welcome address of Prof. Salvatore Zappalà, Director of the Department of Law of the University of Catania – Prof. Anna Maria Maugeri, scientific Coordinator of RECOVER, gave an introductory speech that offered an overview of the Dir. no. 42/2014/EU.
Then, she gave the floor to the partners for their reports about the characteristics and the criticisms of their national legislations on confiscation: Ms. Vanya Ilieva, Prosecutor in the Supreme Cassation Prosecutor’s Office, spoke for Bulgaria; Mr. Arnaud de Blesson, on behalf of the Ministry of Justice, for France; Prof. Martin Heger, Professor of Criminal Law and Procedural Law at the Humboldt University, for Germany; Ms. Janne Lise de Boer and Mr. Robert vd Ende, International Legal Advisors, for Netherlands. During the second day, the other national confiscation models were presented: the Lithuanian system was explained by Ms. Jūratė Radišauskienė, Prosecutor of Criminal Prosecution Department; the Polish one by Mr. Marcin Warchold, Deputy Minister of Justice; the Portuguese one by Mr. João Conde Correia, General Prosecutor; the Romanian one by Ms. Alis Scutaru, Asset Tracing and Management Inspector at ANABI; the Spanish one by Mr. Francisco Jiménez Villarejo Fernàndez, Supreme Court Prosecutor; the Italian one by Prof. Anna Maria Maugeri, who focused on the jurisprudence of the Italian Constitutional Court and of the ECHR regarding general and special forms of confiscation, and by Prof. Giovanni Grasso, Professor of Criminal Law at the University of Catania, who underlined the various issues of the Italian type of confiscation that is a preventive measure.
Then, Prof. Ernesto Savona, Professor of Criminology at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, talked about the lack of data relating to the mutual recognition proceedings. In conclusion, Ms. Anna Sakellaraki, Ph.D. candidate in Criminal Law at the Humboldt University, discussed the proposal of a new directive on asset recovery and confiscation.
After each of these presentations there was a lively debate among the partners of the consortium, which contributed to identifying the most relevant aspects of the different national legal systems, meditating on the scope of application of the Reg. no. 1805/2018/EU and reflecting upon the reform proposals for the harmonization of the legislations of the EU member States.
More information about the project, the full list of partners involved, including ANABI, as well as a presentation of the activities carried out under the auspices of this project, can be found on the official website: https://recover.lex.unict.it