Keywords: environment; environmental sanctions; environmental damage; principle of nonregression; Dir. 2008/99/CE.
Environmental protection is an important factor for social progress around which, referring to the characteristics of law systems, it is possible that power systems and effectiveness of law can vary. Regarding violations of law and legal sanctions, the EU Legislator prefers to apply criminal sanctions because it is more effective in prevention and punishment for environmental offences. Thus, member states are obliged to adopt laws that apply criminal sanctions. In general, this does not exclude the application of other types of legal sanctions. This approach of the EU Legislator depends on the ineffectiveness of Member States’ penalty systems respective of the need for the full observance of environmental laws. For this reason the EU has identified specific situations to which criminal sanctions necessarily apply. In the European framework, it is possible to verify the tendancy to introduce criminal environmental sanctions also through the modification of the criminal code. Penalizing procedures in Italy are very structured, outlining a mixed penalty system that may be found in other European countries.