The ECBA Conference was held last spring in Madrid with focus on the use and abuse of universal jurisdiction and the European Arrest Warrant in European criminal justice.

From an overall perspective, it was a very technical conference, in which participants could learn and exchange knowledge and practical experiences on the fields on universal and extraterritorial jurisdiction cases and international/European arrest warrants.

The usual cocktail reception took place on Friday at the premises of the Madrid Bar association, where there were welcome addresses by the Dean, Prof. Dr. Hernandez–Gil, and by ECBA Chair Holger Matt.
The Conference itself was held in Hotel Intercontinental and started after the welcome speeches with a speech by Mr. de Prada Solaesa, Judge at the Criminal Chamber of the Audiencia Nacional, as well as an intervention by Marc Henzelin, member of the Advisory Board. This panel approached among others the issues of universal jurisdiction relating to terrorism issues and the possibility of prosecuting Guatanamo crimes.
Later in the morning, Ms. Denisa Fikarova, representative of the Czech Government, presented her Government’s Proposal for a Frame-work Decision on “conflicts of jurisdiction”. Roberto Pisano, Vice-Chair of the ECBA, intervened criticising the proposal. These critics were later laid down by Holger Matt in the Open Letter to be found on this website.

E-Justice has been once again on the spotlight in a session chaired by the Treasurer of the ECBA, Mr. Kevin Roberts. The Project Penalnet – for the establishment of a secure communications network for defence lawyers – was presented by Mr. Alonso Hernández-Pinzón Garcia. Until now the experience has shown to be fruitful, but there is still a lot to be done. The project could be the basis for the establishment of a EU-wide defence secure communications network. Fernando Piernavieja Niembro, Member of CCBE e-Justice steering committee, presented the EU E-Justice strategy and the CCBE’s own E-Justice strategy and concerns.

The afternoon session started with an update on the main ECBA projects and a session chaired by the Vice-Chair of the ECBA, Mr. Roberto Pisano, dedicated to a comparative view on pre-trial detention in Europe, with particular emphasis on the European Arrest Warrant. Ms. Joana Gomes Ferreira, Public Prosecutor, and Mr. Georgios Pyromallis, Ms. Yvonne Mette Larsen and Mr. Ernesto Díaz-Bastien, all defence lawyers, presented their views and experiences on the subject, after which the floor was animated by the questions and remarks of the partici-pants of the various jurisdictions.

The closing session, chaired by the Vice-Chair of the ECBA, Ms. Louise Hodges, was as usual dedicated to the national jurisdictions’ legal developments affecting the profession and has provided every-one with useful updates on key developments in criminal law and procedure in the various jurisdictions by Mr. Alexis Anagnostakis, Ms. Dian Brouwer, Mr. Robin Grey, Mr. Gustavo Lopez-Munoz, Ms. Sonja Maeder, Ms. Dara Robinson and Mr. Janus Tomczak.

Closing with a dinner at the Westin Hotel, Madrid has proven to be a really warm welcoming and stimulating city and it has once again been a great opportunity for members to participate an enriching and practical conference. The ECBA thanks everyone who attended and contributed to the success of this Conference.


Report by Vânia Costa Ramos