By United States Ambassador to the European Union Anthony L. Gardner
On December 2, I was in Rome and met with the Carabinieri, the national gendarmerie of Italy. I became interested in the work of a specialized art squad of the Carabinieri while reading The Medici Conspiracy. The book exposed a network of thieves and art dealers who smuggled the cultural antiquities of Europe and it highlighted the great work of the police who track them down.
Special agents who investigate sexual crimes against children are my heroes because they rescue and protect the most vulnerable segment of our population, are confronted with disturbing content on a daily basis, and can be at significant risk during undercover operations.
We need to be talking more about the work that these heroes do. We also need to address what they are fighting against: people who have been abusing four year-old girls since infancy causing them to require reconstructive surgery of their sexual organs; predators who kill prepubescent orphans with their hardcore sexual practices and then dispose of the bodies in makeshift graves (pedophiles then buy videos documenting these attrocities for up to $10,000), or families in developing countries who rent out their babies and toddlers to child sex offenders. One of the things we must aggressively address is the issue of traveling child sex offenders. Governments need to not only inform the population of the horrendous acts that these predators commit, but also work together to fight them. One way in which this can be accomplished is by developing systematic and automated information exchanges between countries.
As the legal intern here at the U.S. Mission, I am tasked with analyzing European Court of Justice (ECJ) judgments that have a nexus with U.S. policy. Last week, I had the opportunity to travel to Luxembourg to observe an oral hearing at the EU General Court, a lower court that is part of the ECJ system. As a law student in the United States spending my summer in Brussels, I was thrilled to have this opportunity, as it allowed me both to understand how EU court hearings operate, and to pinpoint certain differences between EU and U.S. law.
The hearing I observed involved a Belarus businessman challenging his listing on the EU’s restrictive measures list. The EU (like the U.S.) places economic sanctions on individuals and entities that support oppressive regimes. Recently, however, many parties have successfully challenged their listings in EU courts. Continue reading “A Day at the European Court of Justice”