The newly created European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) took up its duties in September 2020. The enclosed paper endeavours to examine to what extent its activity might come within the scope of the European Convention on Human Rights and the consequences thereof, for the EPPO itself and for the EU Member States.
The paper comes to the conclusion that the hybrid EPPO structure is operating under a hybrid set of fundamental rights, thus calling into question the well-established principle of the single set of norms applicable throughout criminal proceedings. Moreover, the system is characterized by a distortion of the commonly applied logical link between liability for violations of fundamental rights and control over the actions entailing those violations. EU Member States risk being held accountable under the Convention for actions on behalf of the EPPO which they did not fully control and which were subject to a different corpus of fundamental rights. The EU, for its part, takes the risk of seeing EPPO prosecutions being invalidated by domestic courts applying a Convention protection level which may be higher than the Union level.