The conference started with a reception at Villa Massena with welcome speeches by Martine Videau-Gilli, Vice President of the Bar Association of Nice and Philippe Pradal,1st Deputy Mayor of the City of Nice and President de commission of the Metropole Nice Cote d´Azur. 

On Saturday the first panel concentrated on the fight against terrorism and the protection of fundamental rights within this fight. After some introductory remarks by Alexis Anagnostakis Mr. Frederic Baab presented Eurojust and how this institution works, but unfortunately left aside a deeper insight into Eurojust´s approach in terrorism cases. This presentation was followed by Nancy Hollander who made a clear statement: that the label of “terrorism” itself serves no operative legal purpose as the actions of “terrorists” in themselves could be indicted as threats or acts of violence, damage to property etc. Hollander made clear that the crime of “terrorism” itself is therefore not really needed and gave numerous examples of so called “terrorists” who went on to become the statesmen of tomorrow. Her speech was followed by Nicolas Klausser, who gave a very interesting overview of the terrorist attacks in Paris and Nice and the application of the state of emergency that followed in France between 2015 and 2017. He presented the legal analysis on this by the Centre of Research and Studies on Fundamental rights. After that Jorgen van Laer and Johan Eriksson gave a practical overview of their experiences in defending terrorist cases in Belgium and Sweden and the cutback of fundamental rights that went along with this new development in Europe.

The panel on extradition was presided over by Hans van de Wal. Vladimir Hrle, Miroslav Krutina, Rebecca Niblock and Martin Rademacher explained the legal background of extradition procedures in Serbia, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom and Germany in detail and showed when proper defence work in such cases were un/successful. A broad discussion from the floor followed, which included the expression of clear expectations about how future legislative changes in this field should take place.

Very close to this topic was of course the next panel on the European arrest warrant, which was led by Vania Costa Ramos. Introducing the statements of the speakers she gave an overview on abuses of the EAW, citing EAWs used for interviewing suspects in other states, and mentioned very long detention periods in such cases. The panel consisted of Emmanuelle Debouverie from Belgium, Ben Keith from the United Kingdom, Jean-Francois Pedinielli from France as well Maria Radziejowska from Poland. All the speakers emphasized the necessity of dual defence work in such cases. Highly interesting of course was the presentation on the Puigdemont case in Belgium, which showed how professional work in such cases can achieved much.

The panel on emergency issues showed how serious the threatening situation for democracy, the rule of law as well as for lawyers has become in countries like Poland (Dominika Stępińska-Duch), Turkey (Alexis Anagnostakis) and Moldova (Thomas Garner). Stefanie Schott and Julian Hayes led a call to arms to respond to the proposal for a regulation on cross border access to e-Evidence, with particular concern about the protection of privileged material.

As usual the conference ended with a presentation on running projects of the ECBA, the achievements made in the representation of the ECBA´s values as well challenges and future plans of the Association.

Report by Roland Kier