Pope Francis and humane approach in criminal justice

john rn paus

Prof. John Vervaele was received, in his capacity as President of the World Organisation for Criminal Law (AIDP), by Pope Francis in a private audience on Thursday, October 23. The audience lasted an hour and prof. Vervaele and prof. dr. R. Zaffaroni addressed the Pope.

Pope Francis addressed in his comprehensive speech topics such as criminalization and exclusion, victims of ‘crimes of the powerful’ (organized crime and mafia) and the foundations of criminal behavior, crime and punishment.

Following on the XIX World Congress, Pope Francis has written the AIDP on topics such as criminalization and exclusion, victims of “crimes of the powerful ‘(organized crime and mafia) and foundations of criminal behavior, crime and punishment. The Pope has as well in his letter to the AIDP and during the audience approached the theme of criminalization and exclusion from concerns of criminalization, punishment and revenge, punitive populism in politics and in the media. The Pope uses an approach based upon compensation and rehabilitation linked with the social causes of deviant behavior, and the recognition of guilt and expressions of regret. Victims of organized crime and mafia are, accordingly, seen as outcasts who are sucked into the market through social and economic inequalities. The messenger boys of organized crime are not only perpetrators, but also victims. The study of criminal justice must therefore be multidisciplinary in nature. Freedom, responsibility and a humane approach to criminal law are the keywords that a society characterizes as either ‘excluding’ or ‘including’.

During the audience prof. Vervaele also referred to the mission of the AIDP, based on human dignity as a key to criminal justice, and the respect for human rights protection (negative and positive obligations) in criminalization and the use of criminal jurisdiction.

The themes discussed with Pope Francis are not only core themes of the Utrecht School of Criminal Law and Criminology but are also core themes of RENFORCE.



Honory doctorate degree for prof. F. Pennings

frans penningsWe proudly announce that Prof. F. Pennings has received an honorary doctorate degree from the Gothenburg University in Sweden.

Frans Penning’s research interests, that fits in the key project of RENFORCE, are in the area of national and international social security law and also in the border area of labour law and social security law, where he is seen as one of the leading legal science experts. Among the main topics are the impact of International Labor Organization conventions on national systems, the EU social security instruments, national law such as unemployment, disability and sickness benefits, and the scope of the labour contract.



Seminar Extraterritoriality and Environment

We are pleased to announce that in December the seminar Extraterritoriality and Environment will be held. It is organized by ERC and the University of Utrecht. The seminar will be opened by Prof C. Ryngaert. The seminar will be held in December and registration is free.

There has been no shortage of discussion on the costs of industrialisation for the global environment. Yet while there is consensus on the need for conservation, states cannot seem to reach concrete agreements on how to do so. In the absence of multilateral progress some states have resorted to the unilateral implementation of environmental policies, often with extraterritorial effects. This seminar brings together different facets of the legal discussion on extraterritoriality and the environment. A particular focus will be placed on the law of the World Trade Organisation in regulating extraterritorial measures, and the role of the European Union in its attempt to protect the world’s environment.

See: Programme 8th of December

8th December 2014

Achter Sint Pieter 200
Raadzaal, 1e floor
3512 HT Utrecht
The Netherlands

You can register before 1 of December by sending an e-mail to



Conference: Challenges in the field of economic and financial crime in Europe

In December 2014 the University of Luxemburg in collaboration with ECLAN are organizing the conference ‘Challenges in the field of economic and financial crime in Europe’. The conference will cover substantive as well as procedural law issues in relation to economic and financial crime in Europe. The conference will be conducted in English.

We are happy to announce that professor J.A.E. Vervaele and dr. M.J.J.P. Luchtman will be contributing to the conference on the 3rd of December, by providing a reading of, respectively jurisdictional issues in transnational multi-agency and multi-disciplinary investigations and transnational multi-disciplinary investigations and the quest for compatible procedural safeguards.

See the program: Conference Luxembourg

Date: 2 and 3 December 2014


Cité Judiciaire

Grande Salle de Formation

BC batiment commun, first floor,

room 1.38/39

Plateau du St. Esprit

L – 2080 Luxembourg

Registration: Registration is free. You can register yourself before 21st of November, by sending an an e-mail to:


For further information, please contact Dr Vanessa Franssen:



CLOSED: Position available as PhD Researcher EU citizenship in the EU criminal justice area: Defining the legal position of EU citizens under mutual recognition instruments

renforce_logo.pngResearch group RENFORCE of the Utrecht School of Law will be appointing a PhD researcher to engage in research on EU citizenship in the EU criminal justice area, more particularly on the legal position of EU citizens under instruments for mutual recognition of judicial decisions in criminal matters. The project addresses the relation between EU citizenship and the principle of mutual recognition in criminal matters. It seeks to explore if and how EU citizens are currently protected against arbitrary and discriminatory interferences of their rights and duties in the transnational Area of Freedom, Security and Justice. In order to achieve this, it takes a comparative and interdisciplinary approach. A more detailed research plan is available upon request.

It is possible to apply for this position until 12 October 2014.

More information is available on Academic Transfer:

Questions about the project and the position may be addressed to dr. Michiel Luchtman: or dr. Ton van den Brink: