EU Makes Rule of Law Initiative for Peacekeeping and Crisis Management

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Thursday, August 1, 2002
Bruce Zagaris
On May 16, 2002 the European Union (EU) issued a press release on its conference held that day, at the initiative of the Spanish EU Presidency, at which EU Members pledged commit voluntarily close to 300 judicial and prison experts to the EU?s crisis management efforts by 2003. In February 2002 the EU called for contributions to strengthen its ability to respond to crises, especially the civilian (i.e., non-military) dimension of the common European Security and Defense Policy. On May 16, 2002 EU Members said they would provide rule of law experts such as judges, prosecutors, and prison offices. Members said that some of such experts could be deployed rapidly or within 30 days. In the aftermath of the conflicts in the Balkans rule of law experts have been important in supporting efforts to stabilize a crisis area. Such experts could strengthen the criminal justice system in a crisis area and could complement a police operation, such as the EUPM in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The ability of police missions to effectively either strengthen or substitute for local police forces correlates to the complementary attempts to buttress and restore local judicial and penal systems.