Recommendation CM/Rec(2012)11 on the role of public prosecutors outside the criminal justice system complements Recommendation Rec(2000)19 on the role of public prosecution in the criminal justice system which was adopted in autumn 2000. Together these two recommendations set European standards for prosecutorial activities with a comprehensive set of principles defining the status, powers and practice of the public prosecution service for all areas of law in a modern democratic State.
Whatever the nature of their responsibilities, whether they be criminal, civil, administrative law or other, it behooves public prosecutors to carry them out in full accordance with the rule of law, human rights and other principles which are fundamental to all democratic societies.
This recommendation draws upon a number of sources as well as on the practice of the prosecution services of many Council of Europe member States that enjoy extensive powers outside the criminal justice system.
A report, prepared in 2008 at the request of the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors (CCPE) of the Council of Europe, not only illustrated the diversity among legal systems but also showed that public prosecutors in most of the Council of Europe's 47 member States are vested with duties that extend beyond the criminal justice system of their countries. Such powers are based on the various branches of law, with the aim of protecting the public interest as well as the rights and legitimate interests of individuals, especially members of socially vulnerable population groups.
Overall, the recommendation represents a step forward in strengthening the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as the manner in which public prosecutors exercise their role, inside and outside the criminal justice system, is crucial to the protection of these rights and freedoms.