On Tuesday, 25th June, the Cabinet of Ministers supported the informative report drawn by the Ministry of Justice inviting to carry out a revision to assess factors affecting effective criminal procedure concerning criminal offences in the field of economics and finances.
The MoJ also invited the Cabinet of Ministers to decide on sending an invitation to the State Audit Office (SAO) asking to carry out the said revision and to provide suggestions how to improve the situation.
The MoJ has already consulted the SAO for several times; furthermore, a consensus is reached with the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Finances on the need of such revision.
When defining the required measures to carry out the task set forth in the government’s action plan and when planning the assessment of the field of justice, it is important to consider opinions about the Latvian justice system reached by international organizations and Latvian institutions. Thanks to the studies conducted by various institutions, including SAO revision reports and studies of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ), International Monetary Fund (IMF), and assessments made available by these studies, currently problems in the pretrial investigation and trial stages are identified. However, the said assessments address only specific procedural stages. Therefore, there is a lack of comprehensive analysis covering the whole the whole criminal procedure investigation and trial process, describing how the recommendations are introduced up until now.
Therefore, the MoJ concluded that it is necessary to continue working on assessing the factors hindering the pretrial investigation and trial altogether.
To comprehensively and systematically assess the factors affecting the direction of criminal procedures, starting from the receipt of an application to reaching a fair regulation of criminal relationships, the MoJ offers to incorporate in the revision the fields of the State Police, State Revenue Service, Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau, Financial Intelligence Service and Prosecutor’s Office, as well as to cooperate with courts and the Council for the Judiciary.
The revision could comprehensively assess the factors affecting the direction of criminal procedures, identify factors hindering the investigation, assess statutory distribution of responsibilities and competences between an investigator, direct supervisors and supervising prosecutors, as well assess unified understanding between investigators, prosecutors and judges as to the application of criminal proceedings.
The MoJ concluded that the SAO has the most experience, knowledge and competence to accomplish the task. Jānis Bordāns (JKP), the Minister of Justice, believes that the SAO has valuable experience in assessing complex justice affairs as well as in cooperating with law enforcement, prosecution and court authorities, since the SAO has already conducted revisions into the pretrial investigation effectivity in the State Police and effectivity of court activities.
The purpose of the report is to make a decision on a governmental level about further steps in improving operations of law enforcement authorities and court authorities in the field of combating economic crimes.