Severity of environmental crimes must be punished by courts

in News · 23-12-2019 15:55:00 · 0 Comments

The Minister of Environment and Climate Action said that "the seriousness" of environmental crimes "has to be punished", warning that the "excellent work" of the supervision of the guardianship "has not been accompanied by judges in decisions”.

“This means that there is a learning process here that goes through all professional classes to recognize the relevance of environmental issues. Environmental crimes appear to be a diffuse thing, but it makes no sense to be. The seriousness of these crimes has to be punished”, defended João Pedro Matos Fernandes, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the ceremony that marked Metro do Porto's 70 million customers in 2019.

For the minister, there is“excellent work” by the General Inspectorate for Agriculture, Sea, Environment and Spatial Planning (IGAMAOT) which “has unfortunately not yet been accompanied by judges in the administrative decisions of these inspections”.

According to the official, “the Public Prosecutor [MP] is increasingly aware of the relevance and seriousness of environmental crimes and offenses, but the judiciary sometimes turns a fine of 72,000 Euros into contributions of 300 Euros to local firefighters”.

The official commented on news from Público newspaper, according to which, between 2014 and 2018, IGAMAOT was only able to charge 24 percent of the fines it passed.

“We live in the rule of law and most decisions are challenged in court. Although, in most cases, the courts give reason for the inspection and confirm the importance and fairness of the fine, they end up deciding much lower values ??than those applied by the inspection of the environment,” noted the minister.

According to the diário, out of a total of 3,319 environmental inspections and 5,728 infringement proceedings initiated, over €37 million were fined, but only about €9 million were charged.

According to Público, around 15.4 million Euros in fines are awaiting court decision, 6.6 million Euros are being processed and 5.8 million were filed in court.


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