A recently launched justice organisation, The Just Umbrella, has urged EU leaders to include justice as part of the proposed Treaty revisions, or put British and other tourists at risk from legal and judicial discrimination while abroad.
The Just Umbrella (TJU) sponsor Stephen Jakobi, long-time campaigner for the judicial rights of those travelling in the EU and also founder of Fair Trials Abroad, maintains that those who travel within the EU will continue to be vulnerable to injustice, unless action is taken.
“There will be much talk of sovereignty,” Jakobi said, “and maintaining the ability to keep up standards and handing over powers to Brussels at the conference and the British government appears to be particularly entrenched. But there is a double whammy: as Europeans, we are vulnerable to lack of protection if we are mistakenly or wrongly arrested in countries such as Greece, Bulgaria and Romania.
Jakobi added: “If we are victims of violent crime, and such statistics as there are indicate we are 25 times more likely to be such victims than natives, the facilities we should expect to be in place are non-existent. Furthermore, there is no prospect of anything being done about these problems, unless and until the heads of government come up with a practical and democratic system of managing EU justice.”
TJU was founded by Jakobi to “apply and initiate pressure for political action in relevant situations where no groups or NGOs function effectively”.
The campaign group presently has initiatives under way such as alternatives to custody for foreigners – the website claims that, at any one time, “tens of thousands of Europeans…are imprisoned, simply because there is no EU system for ensuring their freedom, while natives go free”.
A recent European Commission study indicates that some 8,000 citizens were remanded in foreign prisons when they might have been entitled to bail. Figures are not available for those who, after conviction, might have in fact received suspended sentences, probation or other non-custodial alternatives to prison if they had been natives.
TJU aims to encourage campaigns for the following measures:
- Eurobail: A Europe supervision order that ensures that foreigners are treated fairly for the purposes of bail;
- Parole and probation: Supporting the Commission in its efforts to promote a suitable framework resolution that will allow all EU citizens equal rights.