October 4, 2010

Vrijschrift: ACTA’s secrecy is illegal

Print More

The Dutch foundation Vrijschrift requested publication of ACTA documents. The request was denied. Vrijschrift filed an objection, below a translation:

1. Many provisions in ACTA are mandatory: “Each Party shall”. Substantially, often they regard legislation, eg “Each Party shall provide for criminal procedures and penalties to be applied at (…)”. There is a binding relationship between ACTA and legislation.

2. ACTA creates an obligation on the Union and Member States to legislate. This obligation falls within the formulations “basis of a legislative act” and “considerations underpinning legislative action”, used by the Court of Justice in the Turco case.

3. The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties provides that the history of treaties plays a role in the interpretation of treaties. Without full disclosure, parliaments have to vote on a treaty of which not all aspects are known. This affects the democratic nature of the Union and the Member States. The secrecy was agreed without notifying parliaments.

4. In Europe, decisions are taken as openly as possible and as closely as possible to the citizen. The confidentiality of ACTA violates this principle without necessity. The secrecy is unnecessary, within the framework of WTO and WIPO, there is transparency. The secrecy undermines democracy and violates the principle of proportionality.

5. The agreement to keep ACTA secret is illegal and should be disregarded.