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Consultative Forum at Eurojust: the use of digital tools in criminal proceedings and IIS

06/10/2017

Today, Lavly Perling, Prosecutor General of Estonia, and Peter Grech, Attorney General of Malta, jointly convened the 12th meeting of the Consultative Forum of Prosecutors General and Directors of Public Prosecutions of the Member States of the European Union. The meeting was hosted by Eurojust in its new premises in the International Zone of The Hague. The President of Eurojust, Michèle Coninsx, welcomed the Consultative Forum members.

The meeting gathered high-level representatives of national prosecution authorities as well as representatives from the EU institutions to discuss the use of digital tools in criminal proceedings as well as the latest developments in illegal immigrant smuggling (IIS).

Digital tools in criminal proceedings

The Estonian authorities shared their experience with electronic signatures and digital information exchange in criminal proceedings, rendering investigations and prosecutions faster and more effective. While Member States have made much progress in this field, Forum members agreed on the need to further extend this modernisation process to the context of cross-border judicial cooperation. Referring to the European Court of Justice ruling of 21 December 2016, Eurojust was encouraged to continue monitoring and reporting on developments regarding data retention regimes in Europe.

Judicial response to IIS

Forum members exchanged views on the outcome of the June 2017 Eurojust meeting on IIS, co-organised by the Maltese and Estonian Presidencies in cooperation with Eurojust, and endorsed the conclusions. The need to tailor the judicial response to the modus operandi of smuggling networks and the changing migratory routes was widely acknowledged. Enhancing cooperation with third countries of origin and transit is considered essential, as is ensuring that information collected by EU actors operating in third countries can be turned into admissible evidence when processed.

National authorities were encouraged to refer more cases to Eurojust and to make full use of judicial cooperation instruments already available, including joint investigation teams (JITs).

Eurojust: developments in priority crime areas and organisational developments

Ms Coninsx outlined the latest developments in Eurojust’s priority crime areas: terrorism, cybercrime and trafficking in human beings (THB), including IIS. Particularly striking is the increased number of terrorism and THB cases for which Eurojust’s support was requested. Participants were also informed of recent organisational developments and were assured that Eurojust will continue to offer tailor-made, expert advice in complex cross-border crime cases.

Conclusions of the meeting

The conclusions of the Consultative Forum meeting were drawn up by Ms Perling and Mr Grech, for endorsement of the Forum and submission to the EU institutions. The conclusions will be published on the Eurojust website, where you can read more about the Consultative Forum.

Next activities

Representatives from Bulgaria and Austria informed participants of their plans regarding their EU Council Presidencies for the first and second semester of 2018 and announced that they will jointly organise next year’s Consultative Forum meeting.

  

Photo © Eurojust