The 10th Annual Meeting of the National Experts on Joint Investigation Teams (JITs) will meet at Eurojust’s premises in The Hague on 25 and 26 June.
Organised by the JITs Network Secretariat in close cooperation with Eurojust and Europol, the meeting, entitled JITS ‘Beyond the EU’: Towards a Greater Use of JITs with Non-EU States, will bring together practitioners and key figures in the use of JITs to discuss issues of particular interest in the current functioning of JITs and look to the future of cooperation with States outside the EU.
Additionally, the meeting will take stock of the achievements of the network after ten years of operation of JITs. As cooperation with non-EU States is increasing, participants will be presented with an opportunity to consider and prepare for the challenges to greater cooperation.
The first day will see four workshops held on a number of topics in relation to the promotion and specific challenges of JITs with non-EU States. On the second day, the conclusions of these workshops will be presented, providing an opportunity for all participants to gain a practical overview of each issue.
Eurojust finances the activities of JITs from its regular budget and is devoting greater attention to the use of JITs, with the JITs Network Secretariat significantly reinforced in the last year. The issue of funding has also been taken up by Eurojust, with new rules for 2014 allowing for the costs of non-EU States to be covered. In 2014, a total amount of EUR 650 000 is available to fund JITs; funding covers the cost of travel, accommodation and interpretation and translation costs, in addition to equipment being provided on loan, such as mobile telephones, laptops, mobile scanners and printers.
At the request of the Experts, two new tools to increase efficiency have recently been introduced: a compilation of relevant practical information for practitioners and JIT leaders on the conditions of setting-up and operating JITs at national level, and an interactive evaluation form to assist them in drawing lessons from their experiences with JITs. These new tools complement the JITs manual, a guide to the operation of JITs co-drafted by Eurojust and Europol and available on the websites of both Agencies. This demonstrates the work of the JITs Network and its Secretariat in constantly improving and facilitating JITs and in working towards building a knowledge bank and point of reference.
What are JITs?
A JIT is a team consisting of judges, prosecutors and law enforcement authorities, established for a fixed period and a specific purpose by way of a written agreement between the States involved, to carry out criminal investigations in one or more of the involved States. The possibility of setting up JITs between Member States is provided for in Article 13 of the 2000 MLA Convention. In view of the slow progress towards its ratification, the Council adopted on 13 June 2002 a Framework Decision on JITs which the Member States were to implement by 1 January 2003.
The JITs Network Secretariat
The JITs Network Secretariat was established in mid-January 2011 in accordance with Article 25a paragraph 2 of the new Eurojust Decision and is hosted by Eurojust.
The Secretariat mainly promotes the activities of the JITs Network and supports the National Experts in their work. It acts as central contact and facilitator of cooperation between Eurojust and the JITs Network. Since September 2013, the JITs Network Secretariat is also responsible for the management of Eurojust JITs funding.