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At a time when a united Europe is still being formed and while crime is becoming a multinational operation, it is impossible to avoid the creation of a pan-European body of criminal law, despite the fact that the concept of individual nationhood continues to exist within Europe. This is the reason for the gradual but certain development of a European system of penal law under the aegis of political bodies such as the Council of Europe, the European Union and the Schengen Area. The guiding principles behind this new system of criminal law are those of greater mutual assistance in law enforcement between states and approximation of national legislation.;More specifically, there are three facets to European criminal law: co-operation between the law enforcement bodies and police forces in the states; human rights, a field which is by no means restricted to criminal law but within which criminal law is of prime importance; and the laws of the European Union which, without being criminal in principle, nevertheless involve many incidents of a potentially criminal nature. These three aspects of European criminal law have already resulted in the signing of numerous treaties as well as intense activity on the part of two Europe-wide courts, the European Court of Human Rights and the European Court of Justice.