Wolf Association Sweden / WAS welcomes Mr Karmenu Vella as our new commissioner and we look forward to a just as rewarding cooperation as was the case with former commissioner Mr Janez Potočnik. Unfortunately we write you with great urgency regarding our endangered wolves here in Sweden. Last year we wrote former commissioner Mr Janez Potočnik and informed him of Sweden’s violations of the Aarhus convention regarding the right to appeal hunting decisions on our endangered predators to a court and how Sweden completely disabled that right.
This summer Mr Janez Potočnik addressed our government thru Carl Bildt. We here post a quick translation of parts of that letter and apologize if it is not 100% accurate (The letter has nr: BRYR / 2014-07-14 / 1258 with infringing NRC: 2014/2178. WAS is unable to post the original letter in this letter due to its format).
Parts of Mr Janez Potočnik's letter:
“The Commission considers that Article 9.3 of the Aarhus Convention should be interpreted and applied in such a way that the effectiveness of the Directive 92/432 / EEC (particularly Article 12 and Article 16) secured. This means that the EU States which are Parties to the Aarhus Convention in order to, in a situation where the requirements of Directive 92/43 / EEC are not followed, pursuing their obligations under Article 9.3 of the Aarhus Convention in accordance with Treaty and the principle of effectiveness of Directive 92/43 / EEC, in particular Article 12 and Article 16, shall ensure that there is a possibility to justice before a national court. A purely administrative review procedure is not large enough from the EU legal system’s point of view.
After reviewing the Swedish law and the Swedish authorities response to the request of the EU Pilot Commission concludes that Sweden has failed to fulfill its obligations under Article 9.3 of the Aarhus Convention, conjunction with artikel216.2, EVF Treaty and the principle of effectiveness of Directive 92/43 / EEC, in particular Article 12 and Article 16 together Annex IV a) on the basis of the facts presented above in the legal assessment.
The Commission notes that under § 22a Administrative appeal (administrative) decision to a general administrative court but 58 § hunting regulation (1987: 905) contains an explicit exception to that rule. This means that a decision on the hunting of large carnivores taken round the provincial government by delegating decision-making authority under § 24 a hunting regulation can only be appealed to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Thus, as mentioned above, if a decision is appealed to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision in the contested case is not appealed further, whether to another administrative body or court because the Authority’s decision is final and definitive.
In this regard, the Commission considers that Sweden does not comply with Article 9.3 Aarhus Convention in conjunction with Article 216.2 BUF Treaty and the principle of effectiveness of Directive 92/43 / EC, in particular Article 12 in conjunction with Annex IV a) and Article 16, as the Environmental Protection Agency documents or omissions when EPA acts as an appeal body for decisions taken by the provincial government cannot be brought to court.
The Commission therefore considers that the appeal of hunting decisions by the provincial government on the basis of decision-making powers delegated to it Environmental Protection Agency pursuant to § 24a of the hunting regulation can only be subject to an administrative procedure (Environmental Protection Agency), but not for the examination of a court and for the reasons stated above, such a system cannot be considered be in accordance with artikel9.3 of the Aarhus Convention in conjunction with Article 216.2 TFEU and the principle of effectiveness of Directive 92/43 / EEC, in particular Article 12, in conjunction with Annex IV a), and Article 16. “
It is completely clear to anyone who reads this that the commission finds that Sweden does not comply with the Aarhus convention and WAS hereby post a translation of Sweden´s answer that was due sept 11 2014. Again we apologize if the translation is not 100% accurate (Commissions ref.nr: C(2014) 4882, case nr: 2014/2178) (WAS is unable to post the original letter in this letter due to its format).
Parts of Sweden’s answer:
“County Board and the Environmental Protection Agency’s administrative agencies. Swedish public authorities are independent in relation to other government agencies, legislative bodies and government. Of Chapter 12. Section 2 of Government follows that neither another agency, legislative body or government in individual cases may determine how an administrative authority to decide on matters of public authorities against individuals or municipalities, or relating to the application of the law. Further out in Chapter 1, Section 1 of the Constitution Act that public power exercised under the law. An administrative hearing cases thus independent of the government and other authorities. The trial that administrative authorities are doing is as great in its extent as in an administrative court, which means that when the agency tries e.g. an application for protective hunting is a completely independent review under the relevant provisions (fitness test). The Authority’s handling of the case is also based on the same principles as the administrative procedural law applicable in the Swedish administrative courts and the governing rules for the proceedings are essentially similar, e.g. terms of the parties’ right to respond to facts of the case and the obligation to justify decisions.
Of 58§ hunting regulation that the decision on the hunting of large predators taken by the prefectures with the support of 24 Â§ hunting regulation may be appealed to the Environmental Protection Agency. CAB’s decision to hunt wolves can be appealed to the Environmental Protection Agency of both the individual and partly environmental organizations. The public concerned are given the opportunity to participate in decision-making at both the county administrative trial that the Environmental Protection Agency appeals. The current scheme of judicial review means that a case is tested in two instances of the two in relation to each other autonomous agencies, both of which make an examination of the case. “
“The trial management authorities are doing is as great in its extent as in an administrative court, which means that when the agency tries e.g. an application for protective hunting is a completely independent review under the relevant provisions (fitness test). The Authority’s handling of the case is also based on the same principles as the administrative procedural law applicable in the Swedish administrative courts “do you write and want, thus making the appearance that the proceedings take place in a legally acceptable manner.”
“The current regime for judicial review means that a case is tested in two instances of the two in relation to each other autonomous agencies, both of which make an examination of the case.”
The intention is to get the European Commission to believe that all opportunities for the public and environmental organizations to appeal are met when the fact are the very opposite, they have blocked the possibility when it is no longer possible to appeal to the administrative court whose task for the legal test of authorities made decisions . WAS could easily provide proof on how lawyers etc. who handle these cases at EPA are hunters or married to hunters and so on. We also have clear indications that there have been more corruption in forms of inspectors from the county board who have been granting protective hunt on wolf, have been in-law’s to the so called hunter effected by the wolf. All of this has been addressed to the EPA who merely dismissed the whole problem without any further investigation. WAS as organization does our homework and we aim to keep nothing of the truth from the EU commissioner, since we know that our government are very busy doing the very opposite.
WAS have no option but to point out that EPA have thru times made all decisions on these hunts, and lost 99,9% of these decisions when preservation organizations appealed to an actual court. This alone we mean is complete proof in itself that EPA does not investigate and take their decision on the same unbiased way that our administrative courts do, and this is a complete disgrace that our government feed the EU commission such lies, not to mention the devastation this means to our endangered animals.
We have a situation where our wolf population last year was below 248. WAS proved that to EU with our recording on how Sweden manipulates the statistics by including deceased individuals sent to Mr Potočnik less than a year ago. The pups have not been that many, and many more individuals have been killed since. WAS there for find it impossible to even remotely believe the population “mutated” overnight and wolves just started pouring in from all over this planet to the point where Sweden now easily can to shoot 90 wolves in the upcoming license hunt announced. The fact is we still have less than 300 individuals according to our estimation and WAS will refer to less than 250 live individuals, and to shoot even 1 of them is to already violate what rightfully should have been classified as near extinct. When the announced license hunt takes effect about 30% of our near extinct wolf population will be eradicated. We hereby ask the commissioner to step in before it’s too late. We mean that with the EU species and habitat´s directive and the Aarhus convention EU is the only hope left before they wipe these animals of Sweden´s map permanently is they you take strong action with no delay what so ever. They stand no chance to recover if this hunt is not stopped. EU need to make Sweden reset the proper order regarding the right to appeal to an independent court as well. The date for this hunt is not set, but we know that from experience that in January / February this bloodbath will take place unless action is taken immediately. WAS urges EU to step in immediately and demand Sweden lay all the cards on the table in order to stop this insanity.
Vice president, international contact and press contact for WAS / Wolf Association Sweden.