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. EU To Propose Laws To Fight 'Green Crimes'

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by Staff Writers
London (AFP) Feb 07, 2007
The European Commission will propose laws to combat so-called "green crimes", which will be penalised by prison sentences and large fines, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday. The nine offences listed by the draft directive, a copy of which was seen by the business daily, would be enforceable across the European Union and range from the illegal dumping of waste to the "taking or damaging" of protected wild flowers.

"Experience has shown that the existing systems of sanctions have not been sufficient to achieve complete compliance with laws for the protection of the environment," the directive said, according to the Financial Times.

"Such compliance can and should be strengthened by the application of criminal sanctions."

The directive also assigns minimum sentences for the most serious "green crimes", such as those that cause death, many of which are already crimes in some EU member states.

Among the minimum sentences are two to five years in prison for the unlawful transport of nuclear material or for serious pollution. If criminal gangs or death are involved, the minimum sentence could rise to 10 years.

According to the FT, the proposal sidesteps what has historically been a right of national parliaments to decide on what constitutes a criminal offence and how it should be punished.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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