The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights notes with
deep concern that organised criminals make hundreds of billions
of euros in criminal profits every year. Such power threatens the
social contract between the citizens and the State on which all
free societies are based.
Confiscation of illegal assets has multiple benefits: it makes
crime less financially rewarding, saps the power bestowed on criminals
by their wealth, deprives them of “seed money” and generates resources
to compensate victims. But it is often prevented by the heavy burden
of proof placed on the competent authorities and by ineffective
Several member States have already passed specific legislation
to facilitate the confiscation of illegal assets. Such measures
were found to be compatible with human rights, including the presumption
of innocence and the protection of property.
Provided sufficient safeguards exist, in particular effective
judicial review, the committee strongly supports non-conviction-based
confiscation as an efficient means to tackle the fast-growing financial
power of organised crime, in defence of democracy and the rule of
The committee concludes by making concrete recommendations
to promote non-conviction-based confiscation in line with good practices
found in different countries, including necessary safeguards and practical
measures to promote international co-operation in this field.