The members of ENPRO are prosecutors appointed by the Prosecutors General of the Member States of the CBSS. ENPRO convenes once a year at a conference but the members of the Network work also between the conferences. ENPRO reports to the Prosecutors General yearly and the Prosecutors General also confirm ENPRO’s plan of action on basis of the recommendations of ENPRO.
ENPRO works for practical cooperation and for regular and frequent professional change of information and discussions between prosecutors. It also collects information on legislation and on prosecuting environmental crime in member states. Most issues and problems that prosecutors meet concerning environmental crime are difficult but, however, similar in every country. ENPRO follows and analyses interesting cases on environmental crime in order to exchange information and experience on problems and solutions for the prosecution of environmental crimes. ENPRO works for the specialization of public prosecutors in the field of environmental crime, because this specialization will promote the prosecution of environmental crimes, and that specialist public prosecutors will be able to form a national knowledge base in this field. ENPRO also cooperates with other organs like HELCOMand the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS).
Originally the Expert Group on Environmental Crime was established by the Prosecutors General at their meeting on 27 April 1999. The background of the mandate was the worry about environmental pollution. Environmental crime was seen as one of the biggest threats in the area in the future. However it was also seen as a national problem of which the consequences extend over the borders of the states. The Prosecutors General saw that in order to combat environmental crime it was necessary to improve cooperation between authorities and the quality of investigation and prosecution.
The main task for the expert group was to study different methods to investigate and prosecute environmental crime as well as prerequisites for a regular cooperation between the states in the Baltic Sea Region. An essential and initial part of the work was to make an inventory on the environmental laws in these states and on the problems in combating environmental crime as a consequence of the different legislations. On the basis of the result of the studies the group was supposed to draw conclusions and make suggestions on the future cooperation in the area.
OPC – the Operative Committee of the Baltic Sea Task Force had established several expert groups under its auspices. One of the expert groups was the Expert Group on Environmental Crime which was established in Helsinki 3-4December 2001. Right from the beginning the Expert Group created contacts with the Network of the Prosecutors General. On the 22nd of April 2002 law enforcement officials from the countries engaged in the Task Force on Organised Crime in the Baltic Sea Region and representatives of the Prosecutors General in the Baltic Sea region gathered for a seminar concerning environmental crime. The participants recommended the integration of the expert groups under the auspices of the Network of the Prosecutors General and the Task Force co-operation. On the recommendation of the seminar the expert groups were merged in 2002.
The Expert Group on Environmental Crime focused on oil pollution at sea as the OPC had decided when it established the Expert Group and as the Expert Group established by the Prosecutors General did before the merger. However it also worked on illegal waste management and on Cites i.e. illegal trade in endangered species.
The Expert Group was divided again in 2008 when the OPC announced that it will not have any permanent experts groups any more. The Prosecutors General decided in their meeting in Gdansk – Gdynia in February 2008 that the Expert Group on Environmental Crime will continue its work independently from the congruent Expert Group of the OPC with which it had been merged in the year 2002. This was beginning of the ENPRO. The Expert Group had its first meeting in Helsinki in September 2008. It was renamed as the Network of Prosecutors on Environmental Crime (ENPRO).
Documents and resources
- ENPRO Manual – This Manual on Prosecuting Environmental Crime in the Baltic Sea Region is written by member states of the Network of Prosecutors on Environmental Crime (ENPRO). It is meant to serve as a handbook for prosecutors and other authorities who work at environmental crime and need information about the judicial systems and legislation of the other member states of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS). The manual is a living document that is regularly revised.
- ENPRO SharePoint site (registered users only)
Institutions of interest
Vineta Polatside, Senior Adviser for Safe & Secure Region, [email protected]