WELCOME to the Q4 2019 edition of the Eurojust newsletter, a new quarterly platform keeping judicial practitioners and our other partners up to date with recent developments at Eurojust as well as with our latest publications.

In this newsletter...
 

- Eurojust becomes an Agency
- Reaching 100 joint action days 
- Welcoming Croatia's first EU Presidency 

- Cooperation agreement signed with Serbia 
- Higher sentences for terrorists discussed by EU Genocide Network
- Migrant-smuggling networks dismantled
- Crackdown on human-trafficking networks
- Authorities disrupt online terrorist propaganda 
- Eurojust helps fight African drug-trafficking network 

- Justice Done as drug-trafficking conviction secured 
- Eurojust's role in major pay-TV fraud case 
- Judicial assistance for practitioners 
- EAW extended to Norway and Iceland 
- Key JIT documents receive new translations
- What's been happening at Eurojust?
 
- Cybercrime Judicial Monitor
- New guidelines for competing extradition requests 
- EJ-EJN report on allocation of cases 
- Revised EAW Joint Note
- New translations of EIO Joint Note 

- Conclusions of 15th JITs Annual meeting
- Translation to EN of judgements war crimes and crimes against humanity
- Cross-border Digital Criminal Justice
 
- What to watch out for in Q1 2020


Eurojust becomes an Agency 


On 12 December, Eurojust officially became the European Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation with the application of the new Eurojust Regulation, which strengthens Eurojust’s role in fighting cross-border crime. A new governance structure, overseen by Eurojust’s new Executive Board, grants the Eurojust College increased scope to focus on the continuously rising number of criminal cases. Further, the Regulation ensures the strengthened role of the European and national Parliaments in the democratic oversight of Eurojust’s activities while also putting in place the new working relationship between Eurojust and the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO). Eurojust President Mr Ladislav Hamran said: ‘This is an important step for Eurojust, marking the beginning of a new phase in our existence. The new Regulation […] means that we can continue to support National Members and their teams in the fight against cross-border crime, while being better prepared for the future challenges that await us.’

Read more about this key development here.

100 joint action days coordinated at Eurojust since 2011 

 Autumn 2019 marked an important milestone in Eurojust’s history, with the conclusion of the hundredth joint action day coordinated by the Agency. Since the first action day coordinated by Eurojust in 2011, this important judicial cooperation tool has led to 1 722 arrests by national judicial and law enforcement authorities, as well as 3 255 searches of properties and the seizure of more than EUR 210 million in cash, luxury cars, jewellery and other goods. 

Further information on the action days and their impact is available here.

Welcoming Croatia's Presidency of the European Union in style

 
Eurojust is delighted to welcome the first Croatian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which began on 1 January 2020. Over the next six months, Eurojust will be displaying the work of Croatian artist Velimir Trnski throughout its premises in The Hague.

Click here to watch the video.

Eurojust signs cooperation agreement with Serbia


Serbia becomes the fourth State in the Western Balkans to sign a cooperation agreement with Eurojust, joining North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania. Signed in November 2019, the agreement creates the potential for enhanced operational and strategic judicial cooperation between Eurojust and Serbia, including by facilitating the sharing of information and evidence between the Agency and Serbian authorities during cases. 

Learn more about the agreement here.

Higher sentences for terrorists discussed by the EU Genocide Network


Prosecutors attending the 27th meeting of the EU Genocide Network at Eurojust’s premises in The Hague on 6 and 7 November discussed the need for better cooperation and coordination between prosecutors with different competences to enable higher sentences for suspects of terrorist activities. A key proposal under discussion was the potential to combine charges of terrorism with other offences, including acts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

Find out more about the meeting and its outcomes here.

Migrant-smuggling networks dismantled with Eurojust's support

Q4 saw Eurojust play a central role in the successful conclusion of two major cross-border migrant smuggling investigations. During the first case, concluded in November 2019, Eurojust provided a framework to enable the involved authorities from Germany, Romania, Hungary, the UK and Turkey to organise the execution of a European Arrest Warrant (EAW), while also clarifying responsibilities for the prosecution of suspects and offering advice on obtaining evidence from the other parties. Further information on the case can be found here.

In December 2019, Eurojust also helped to dismantle a migrant-smuggling ring transporting irregular migrants across the southern Adriatic Sea. Eurojust provided support to a joint investigation team (JIT) involving Greek and Italian authorities, including through an action day coordinated at Eurojust’s premises in The Hague as well as two coordination meetings. With Eurojust facilitating, the authorities carried out 13 property searches and also rescued nine migrants, including minors, who were awaiting transportation by smugglers. Read more about Eurojust’s role here.

 

Cracking down on human-trafficking networks  


Eurojust helped practitioners to conclude a number of cross-border cases involving trafficking of human beings (THB) during the final quarter of the year. In November, Eurojust helped facilitate a successful end to a two-year investigation into an organised crime group (OCG) trafficking female victims for sexual exploitation in Lithuania. Eurojust organised coordination and operational meetings and facilitated the execution of European Investigation Orders (EIOs) and EAWs. Further information is available here.

Later in the month, Eurojust’s support enabled UK and Romanian authorities to bring 18 suspects into custody for their alleged involvement in acts of modern slavery and enforced prostitution, as part of a synchronised joint action. Eurojust held a coordination meeting in the build-up to the arrests to facilitate the setting up of the joint investigation team (JIT) and provided financial and logistic support for the JIT. Read Eurojust’s press release on the case here.

In December, Eurojust also helped authorities in Romania, Spain and the Czech Republic dismantle a criminal network accused of trafficking women for sexual exploitation, offering a platform to take prompt, decisive action against the alleged offenders, as well as to respond swiftly to developments on the ground. A coordination centre was set up at Eurojust to help coordinate the arrests, searches, seizures and hearings that took place across the respective countries. Find out more here.

EU judicial and law enforcement authorities join forces to disrupt online terrorist propaganda 


Eurojust helped bring an end to this long-running investigation, which involved nine EU Member States and four third States and culminated in a joint action day taking place in November 2019.

In the build-up to the action day, Eurojust facilitated an urgent MLA request in preparation for an upcoming coordinated multinational takedown action, which allowed the requested State to seize and disrupt a content server used to disseminate terrorist propaganda online. The takedown action, which took place in April 2018, targeted 27 servers and 12 domains worldwide. 

In June 2018, Eurojust then organised a coordination meeting to organise the follow-up actions, set up a clear mechanism to share information and help decide on the jurisdiction in which to prosecute. Following this, two further coordination meetings were held at Eurojust’s premises in 2019 to coordinate national investigation strategies and prepare for a joint action day, which subsequently took place on 21-23 November.

Learn about the outcomes of the action day here.

Eurojust helps dismantle African drug-trafficking network 
Italy, Ivory Coast, Nigeria 

Eurojust facilitated a joint action day to bring down an OCG suspected of large-scale drug trafficking from Ivory Coast and Nigeria to Italy. Eurojust’s role during the action was to forward and enable the execution of eight EAWs, which led to the arrest of a total of 150 suspects, including 19 alleged heads of the OCG, together with the seizure of 230 kg of heroin, 20 kg of cocaine and 2 kg of MDMA.

Read more about the part Eurojust played in the action day here.

#JusticeDone: Eurojust helps secure conviction in drug-trafficking case

Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the UK 



December 2019 saw the culmination of a year-long multi-national investigation into an OCG involved in drug trafficking. Over the course of 2019, Eurojust helped to coordinate the work of multiple national authorities, including through the organisation of five coordination meetings. The Agency also assisted the involved authorities in overcoming legal obstacles by advising on jurisdictional issues and helping them to agree on the best location to prosecute. Further, Eurojust enabled the setting up and financing of a JIT, to enable the swift gathering of evidence and sharing or information. 
 
Additional information is provided in this press release.
 

                       

Behind the scenes: examining Eurojust's role in a major pay-TV fraud case
Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, France, Germany, the Netherlands

 
The Q3 edition of the Eurojust newsletter highlighted a recent pay-TV fraud case, which was successfully unravelled with Eurojust's support. Here, we delve deeper into our role in this major trans-European investigation involving six Member States.

Eurojust was instrumental to the fast execution of various European Investigation Orders and freezing orders issued during the investigation, and also played a crucial role in finding a legal solution to enable the take-down to be included a framework characterised at a Union level by the lack of a common legal basis. With the case progressing to a joint action day, Eurojust’s intervention enabled the coordinated shut-down of different servers used by the OCG across the involved Member States, thereby disrupting the criminals' activities all at once. Eurojust also helped ensure forensic copies of the contents of the seized servers were made, thus allowing the contents to be used as admissible evidence in subsequent criminal judicial proceedings.

Read more about Eurojust’s central role in the investigation here.
In addition to the cases presented above, Eurojust has coordinated a number of additional major criminal investigations and prosecutions over the past few months. Please visit our website to explore Eurojust’s wider casework during Q4.

Are you a practitioner in need of judicial assistance? 


Find out whether your case should be allocated to Eurojust or to the European Judicial Network (EJN) with the help of our new joint report. Published in November 2019 by Eurojust and the EJN, the report supports judicial practitioners by highlighting recent experience, difficulties and best practice, and by making recommendations regarding the allocation of cases. 

For further information on the report, see our latest publications.


The EAW: now extended to Norway and Iceland


As of November, the reach of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) extends to two new countries, Norway and Iceland, reducing impunity in these countries and aligning procedures for surrender and extradition with those of the Member States.

Click here for further information.

New translations of key JIT documents 


Eurojust has produced translations in 21 additional EU languages of key documents relating to joint investigation teams, including:
  • a JITs checklist for practitioners (available here). This checklist is a useful tool for practitioners involved in the setting-up of a JIT, to assess its suitability and make them aware of possibilities and challenges during the set-up and operational phases of the JIT. 
  • a reimbursement checklist for JITs funding (available here), to help practitioners collect the necessary supporting documents when completing a claim after JIT funding has been awarded and receive reimbursement in a timely manner.

What's been happening at Eurojust?


Eurojust assumes presidency of network of Justice and Home Affairs Agencies 

On 1 January 2020, Eurojust took over the presidency of the Justice and Home Affairs Agencies (JHAA) Network from Europol. As host to the nine JHA Agencies which form the JHAA in 2020, Eurojust will be responsible for coordinating the activities of the network and will function as a secretariat. In 2020, the central theme of Eurojust presidency of the Justice and Home Affairs Agencies (JHAA) Network will be the protection of victims of human trafficking.

Speaking of the role of the Network, Eurojust President, Mr Ladislav Hamran, said: ‘Cooperation is essential to ensure a European area of freedom, security and justice. Each of the agencies involved in the network plays its own specific role, but together we can achieve great complementarity in the fight against cross-border crime.’

Find out more about the Network's objectives for 2020 here

Eurojust National Member discusses the external dimension of EU judicial cooperation, in eucrim




Eurojust National Member for Slovenia, Bostjan Sklerc, features in the European Criminal Law Associations’ Forum (eucrim) with his article, 'Eurojust and External Dimension of EU Judicial Cooperation'. In the article, Mr Sklerc outlines the stage of development reached in achieving cooperation with third countries since Eurojust’s establishment, emphasising the need for continuing development of these relations under the new legal framework, as set by the new Eurojust Regulation.

Read the article here

Stepping up judicial cooperation on cybercrime 

Over the recent months, Eurojust has led and taken part in a series of events promoting judicial cooperation in the challenging and growing field of cybercrime. On 18 October, Eurojust hosted senior judicial representatives from across the Member States as part of the 14th Consultative Forum of Prosecutors General and Directors of Public Prosecutions. Among other issues, the Forum focused on optimising digital information sharing and the exchange of e-evidence during criminal cases. More information on the event is available here.

Eurojust also co-hosted the third annual SIRIUS conference, which took place on 23 and 24 October 2019 at Europol’s premises in The Hague. The two-day joint event gathered more than 300 judicial and law enforcement authorities from 40 countries, as well as representatives from Google, Microsoft, eBay, Cloudflare and Twitter, to address issues and challenges when conducting internet-based investigations.
Read about the outcomes of the event here.

A further cybercrime event taking place during Q4 was the seventh plenary meeting of the European Judicial Cybercrime Network (EJCN), hosted by Eurojust on 14 and 15 November. During the meeting, Eurojust offered support to cybercrime practitioners via a series of presentations, including a session related to the use of JITs in cybercrime investigations. Discover more here.

Supporting its wider efforts in this growing field, Eurojust publishes the Cybercrime Judicial Monitor (CJM), providing practitioners with updates on legislation and judicial analysis of court rulings in the area of cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime. The latest edition of the CJM, published in December 2019, is available here (also see our latest publications for more information).  

Eurojust and OLAF discuss operational cooperation – 17 December 

Improving operational cooperation between Eurojust and the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) was the central issue discussed a recent Eurojust College meeting attended by OLAF’s Director-General, Mr Ville Itälä in December. Since September 2008, both EU bodies have a practical agreement to step up the fight against fraud, corruption or any other illegal activities that affect the financial interests of the European Union. Representatives of the National Desks at Eurojust also met with OLAF investigators during the visit, to discuss open cases and enhance practical cooperation.

Find out more about the visit here.

Ireland continues as full operational partner of Eurojust – 12 December


The official adoption of the new Eurojust Regulation on 12 December confirmed Ireland’s status as an integral and operational partner in Eurojust. Ireland decided to opt in to the new Regulation in June 2019, with the country’s participation in Eurojust confirmed by the European Commission on 29 November. The strengthening of ties between Ireland and Eurojust coincides with their increased cooperation, with the number of Irish cases registered at Eurojust rising by 41% during the five years to 2020. 

Find out more here.
 

 

Eurojust attends EJN plenary meeting in Helsinki – 20-22 November 


Representatives from Eurojust were among the participants at the 53rd Plenary meeting of the European Judicial Network (EJN), which took place in Helsinki, Finland during 20-22 November. During the meeting, the representatives took part in discussions and workshops covering a wide range of topics, including among others, electronic evidence (e-evidence), the application of the EAW, Brexit and the Finnish legal and institutional framework for cross-border judicial cooperation.
 
Read more about the meeting on the EJN website.
 

Hungarian Minister of Justice visits Eurojust – 14 November 

During a visit to Eurojust’s premises, the newly appointed Minister of Justice of Hungary, Ms Judit Varga, met with the President of Eurojust, Mr Ladislav Hamran, as well as Mr László Venczl, National Member for Hungary, and Mr András Kocsis, Ambassador of Hungary to the Netherlands. Various topics were discussed during the visit, including the funding needs of Eurojust, the Digital Criminal Justice initiative and Eurojust’s cooperation with the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO).

Read more here.

 

                  

Eurojust recognised for its contribution to judicial and investigative journalism 

 
On 25 November, Eurojust received the European Award for Judicial and Investigative Journalism 2019 in recognition of the Agency's contribution to the fight against organised crime and mafia-style organisations. The presenters of the award particularly praised Eurojust for taking on organised crime with big, concerted operations, such as Operation Pollino in 2018, which led to the arrest of 84 suspects linked to the ‘Ndrangheta. Accepting the award on behalf of the Agency, Eurojust Vice-President and National Member for Italy Mr Filippo Spiezia said: ‘It is a great honour for Eurojust and our work that we receive this award. It recognises the role a broader and coordinated cooperation can play in tackling organised crime, by joining forces in the very practical way we do at Eurojust.’

Discover more about Eurojust's award here.

Marking ten years of the EU Fundamental Rights Charter –
12 November 

 
In November, Eurojust joined the other Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Agencies in commemorating the ten-year anniversary of the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights. The nine Agencies pledged to continue to respect, promote and protect fundamental rights through their work, and to enhance their capacity to respect the Charter by sharing and exchanging best practice. 

Find out more here.

Klaus Meyer-Cabri re-elected as Vice-President – 05 November


Mr Klaus Meyer-Cabri, National Member for Germany at Eurojust, was unanimously re-elected as Vice-President of Eurojust in November 2019. Mr Meyer-Cabri, who has served as Eurojust Vice-President since 2016 and now begins his second term in office, stated: ‘I am humbled by the trust colleagues put in me and I will strive to honour this trust in the years to come.’


Read more about Mr Meyer-Cabri’s background and achievements here.

 

Eurojust and ENPE jointly host conference on environmental crime – 29 October

More than 100 specialists from around the world met at Eurojust’s premises in The Hague in October 2019, to discuss strategies for the fight against organised environmental crime. The two-day conference, jointly hosted by the European Network of Prosecutors for the Environment (ENPE) and Eurojust, featured presentations from four continents, including from specialists from Brazil, China and North and South America, as well as a dedicated workshop focusing on how best to cooperate globally in tackling environmental crime.

Read more about the conference outcomes here.


Cybercrime Judicial Monitor (issue 5)


The Cybercrime Judicial Monitor (CJM) is an annual Eurojust publication providing law enforcement and judicial authorities with updates on legislation and judicial analysis of court rulings in the field of cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime.

The fifth edition of the CJM, published in December 2019, selects the ‘handling of virtual currencies in criminal investigations and proceedings’, as its topic of interest, and explores the concept of virtual currencies, the legal framework and policies in the different countries covering the seizure and handling of virtual currencies, and the challenges and obstacles involved in conducting such seizures.

The various editions of the CJM can be accessed here
 

Guidelines for deciding on competing requests for surrender and extradition

 

The updated Guidelines for deciding on competing requests for surrender and extradition are now available to authorities in the Member States. The Guidelines outline the different factors to consider when deciding which request to execute, as well as the support Eurojust can provide to authorities to resolve incidences of competing requests. The newly amended version widens the scope of the Guidelines, to include not only scenarios of competing European Arrest Warrants (EAWs), but also a scenario of a conflict between an EAW and an extradition request. 

The Guidelines can be viewed here.


 

EJ-EJN report on allocation of cases 

 

In December, Eurojust and the European Judicial Network (EJN) published a joint report, The Assessment of allocation of cases to Eurojust and to the European Judicial Network, to support judicial practitioners in assessing whether Eurojust or the EJN should be allocated a particular case. The report highlights relevant recent experience, difficulties and best practice, and makes recommendations on which institution is best placed to provide assistance.

The report can be accessed here.
 

EAW Joint Note – revised document

 

Eurojust has published a revised version of the outcomes to a questionnaire issued to judicial practitioners in the Member States in May 2019 regarding the issuing of European Arrest Warrants (EAWs) for the purpose of prosecution. The revised document, which was updated in close coordination with the EJN, the Council Secretariat and the Commission, takes into account relevant developments since the initial publication in June, including the adoption of new legislation in the Netherlands. 

The document is available here.

EIO Joint Note translated to all EU languages 

 

The Joint Note of Eurojust and the European Judicial Network on the practical application of the European Investigation Order is now available in 23 EU languages. The note is a compilation of information on the EIO and its application, gathered by Eurojust and the EJN during meetings, documents and casework. It includes examples of the common issues and challenges encountered by national authorities when using the tools, as well as possible solutions and best practice.

The various language versions of the note are available here.
 

Conclusions of the 15th JITs Annual meeting  

 

The  Council of the European Union has published the Conclusions of the 15th Annual Meeting of National Experts on Joint Investigation Teams, which was organised by the JITs Network Secretariat in close cooperation with Eurojust and Europol. The topic of this year’s meeting, which took place at Eurojust’s premises on 5 and 6 June 2019, was JITs in cybercrime cases: challenges and opportunities. 

The document is available to view here.  


 

Translation to EN of judgements war crimes and crimes against humanity – Genocide Network 


With the support of Eurojust, the Genocide Network Secretariat, has gathered and translated into English casework and respective judgements concerning the prosecution by national jurisdiction of EU Members States of core international crimes committed in Syria, as part of its effort to raise awareness on accountability.

The cases can be downloaded in English here.
 

Cross-border Digital Criminal Justice


Eurojust and the European Commission have published the second newsletter on the Cross-border Digital Criminal Justice project, providing a further update on the project's progression and highlighting the wide range of activities conducted since the first edition, of September-October 2019. 

Read the newsletter here
 

What to watch out for in Q1 2020


With a brand-new year and decade upon us, here are some of the key topics and events to keep an eye on over the weeks and months ahead.
 

January 

  • High-level meeting on a joint strategy related to IP crime. 

February

  • Publication of the third JITs evaluation report.
  • Joint regional high-level conference on ‘Foreign Terrorist Fighters – Addressing Current Challenges’.
  • Eurojust Casework report on sham marriages.

March 

  • Tenth annual European Data Protection & Privacy Conference.

 
Visit the Eurojust website by clicking on the following link www.eurojust.europa.eu

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