The workshop "Reforming Criminal Justice: Key Issues of Contemporary Criminal Procedure" took place on Monday, 15 October 2007 at the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law on the occasion of the visit of an expert delegation of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation’s Rule of Law Program.
Based on a recently concluded comparative research project of the Max Planck Institute on criminal justice in Europe, the workshop provided an overview on basic trends in the criminal justice reform in Europe. Other fundamental questions of criminal justice reforms addressed were the distinction between repression and prevention as functional limits of the criminal procedure, restorative justice and criminal procedure, as well as the question of prosecutorial discretion and the circumvention of human rights. Country-specific topics addressed the applicability of special investigative techniques in Bosnia and Herzegovina, main subjects for the reform of the criminal procedure in China and basic problems of the reform projects in Uruguay, as well as problems regarding basic procedural human rights guarantees of neo-traditional procedures coping with human rights violations in Rwanda.
Main questions addressed in the discussions were the ongoing trend towards a more consensual type of criminal procedure in the reform processes, the overload of the criminal justice system, the role of the victim and the public in the criminal procedure, gaps in the reform processes regarding human rights guarantees, the blurring of the limits between administrative and criminal procedures and between the repression of criminal offenses and the prevention of public dangers, as well as, more fundamentally, about the limits of the State in guaranteeing a the same time security and safeguarding civil liberties. All in all, the workshop provided a good opportunity to exchange experiences about the present state of criminal justice reforms in the many countries covered by the experience of the workshop participants. The main conclusion to be drawn from the presentations and discussions is that although different in detail, the key issues of contemporary criminal procedure are basically the same in all the reform processes that were discussed in the workshop. Finally, the workshop provided a good opportunity to discuss and plan future collaboration as well as expand cooperation.