In a new Opinion the Council of Europe’s Consultative Council of European Prosecutors addresses the implementation of the usual functions of prosecution services in emergency situations, their new or extended functions in response to such situations, how to overcome the challenges faced by prosecution services in emergency situations, as well as the modalities of international co-operation during a pandemic.
The Opinion considers how prosecution services can, in such conditions, fulfil their mission with the highest quality and efficiency, and while respecting the rule of law and human rights.
The prosecutors throughout member States - and in fact all over the world - are currently facing the challenge of making sure that, in the course of their work, the measures taken under a public health emergency are used to protect people, and that new legal measures are applied with strict respect for human rights obligations.
The restrictions introduced as a result of the pandemic may affect civil and political rights protected by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), as well as economic, social and cultural rights, entailing discrimination against certain vulnerable groups.
That is why it is all the more important for prosecutors to continue ensuring respect for the ECHR in member States during a pandemic, as well as its aftermath.