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The discussion on criminalisation of aviation incidents and accidents shows the concerns about the intrusion by law enforcement in the all-important effort to enhancing safety in aviation. It also reflects a tendency to use “criminalisation” as the epitome of misdirected and unwarranted activities by the judiciary and to argue that the safety domain should be further protected from any action by the prosecution.
Invoking real or alleged criminalisation of aviation incidents or accidents as a justification for protective legislative action does not really work. What is needed now is an equilibrium between two equally relevant goals: aviation safety and the administration of justice.The EUROCONTROL Just Culture Task Force has now developed a Model Policy for National Prosecutors based on UK and Dutch precedents that introduces voluntary restrictions for the types of offences that would result in a criminal investigation after a serious incident or an accident. This and other initiatives to establish a true Just Culture will be further discussed.