Eurojust PDF Print E-mail

 

The International Affairs Department of the Prosecutor General’s Office also participates on the representation of the Czech Republic in the European Unit for Judicial Cooperation. (Eurojust). The establishment of Eurojust [1] is one of the most important projects realized by the EU in recent years in the area of cooperation between member states in criminal matters.

 

History of Eurojust goes as far as to the European Council meeting held in Tampere (14. - 16. October 1999), where the requirement for creation of a judicial cooperation unit (Eurojust) was raised in order to reinforce combatting serious organized crime. The European Council decided to create the Eurojust unit composed of national public prosecutors, judges or police officers with similar competences, delegated by individual member states in compliance with their national laws.

 

This requirement was followed by a Council Decision of 14.12.2000 on the creation of a Provisional Judicial Cooperation Unit – Pro-Eurojust [2]. This unit was based in Brussels, it was supported by the Council infrastructure and it began its operation on 1.3.2001. The objectives of the project were formulated in article 2 of this decision as follows:

- to improve cooperation between the competent national authorities in the course of investigation and prosecution of serious organized crime that concerns two or more member states,

- to improve and facilitate coordination of investigations and prosecutions within the same framework,

- to provide its expert knowledge to member states and Council, if necessary in order to negotiate and adopt the legislative tool establishing Eurojust.

 

Article 3 imposed an obligation to every member state to assign a public prosecutor, judge or police officer to the Pro-Eurojust with similar competences.  The objective of Pro-Eurojust members according to this article was to contribute, within their statutory competences laid down by national laws and in cooperation with any competent authorities, to due coordination and facilitation of judicial cooperation between the competent national authorities in the course of investigation and criminal prosecution of serious organized crime concerning two or more member states.

 

Eurojust was established by the Council decision of 28. 2.2002 - 2002/187/JHA (hereinafter referred to as “Decision”). Since April 2003 its seat is in Haague. This decision was then amended by the Council decision of 18.6.2003 - 2003/659/JHA [3] and Council decision of 16.12.2008 - 2009/426/JHA on strengthening of Eurojust [4].

 

According to art. 4 of the Decision Eurojust is entitled to deal with:

 

a) all types of crime falling within the competence of Europol, which include:  

- organized crime and other forms of serious crime concerning two or more member states in such a way that given the extent, significance and consequences of such crimes a common proceeding of member states is necessary,

- illegal drug trafficking

- illegal activity associated with money laundering,

- criminal activity associated with nuclear and radioactive substances

- illegal immigrant smuggling

- trafficking in human beings

- criminal activity associated with motor vehicles

- murder, grievous bodily harm

- illegal trade with human organs and tissue

- kidnapping, illegal restraint and hostage taking

- racism and xenophobia

- organized robbery

- illegal trade with cultural assets, including antiques and works of art

- fraud

- extortion and collection of protection money

- forgery and product piracy

- forgery of public documents and trade with such counterfeit documents

- forgery of money and means of payment

- computer crime

- corruption

- illegal trade with firearms, ammunition and explosives

- illegal trade with endangered animal species

- illegal trafficking with endangered species of plants

- crimes against the environment

- illegal trade with hormonal substances and other growth promoters

 

 

b) Criminal activity committed in connection to the forms of crime referred to under a).  

 

c) Upon a request of the competent authority of a member state it may assist also in case of criminal proceedings conducted on another crime than referred to above.

 

In the course of investigation and prosecution of the above referred types of crime in two or more EU member states and in case a serious organized crime is concerned, the objective of Eurojust according to art. 3 of the Decision is:

- to support and improve the coordination of investigations and prosecutions conducted by competent authorities of member states,

- to improve the cooperation between the competent authorities of member states in the course of executing requests and decisions on judicial cooperation, including the tools that put into effect the principle of mutual recognition,

- support in any other way investigations and prosecutions conducted by competent authorities of member states in order to increase the effectiveness of their operation.

 

Eurojust may provide assistance also in cases that relate only to a member state and a third state, if the third state entered into an agreement on cooperation or if there is a significant interest on the cooperation. Eurojust may also provide assistance on the basis of a request of a member state or the Commission in cases related only to the member state and the Community.

 

In addition to the goals identified in article 3 of the Decision, Eurojust focuses on the exchange of information on legislation of individual member states related to criminal proceedings and on preparation of proposals and recommendations for changes in both the domestic and international legislation in order to improve international cooperation in criminal matters. Eurojust also collaborated in the course of creation of the Strategic concept on tackling organized crime. [5]

 

Article 1 of the Decision stipulates that Eurojust is an EU body which has a legal personality. According to article 2 of the Decision, Eurojust is composed National Members assigned by one from each member state out of the ranks of public prosecutors, judges of police officers with similar competences. Each National Member may have an assistant, who may fully represent them. In case of need and with the consent of the Collegium they may have multiple assistants. Each National Member must have an office in Eurojust headquarters.

  

Eurojust has following inner structure:

a) College consisting of 27 National Members. Chaired by the President and Vice-Presidents;

b) Administration of Eurojust consisting of Budget, Finance & Procurement Unit, Case Analysis Unit, Corporate Services Unit, Human Resources Unit, Information Management Unit, Legal Services Unit, Data Protection Office, Press & PR Service, College Secretariat, European Judicial Network Secretariat, Joint Investigation Teams Network Secretariat and Genocide Network Secretariat. The Head of Administration is the Administrative Director;

c) Independent Joint Supervisory Body (for control of personal data processing);

d) Data protection Office.

 

At the end of year 2004, internal division into so called Teams was introduced.  The Teams are composed of National Members, their deputies and the competent administrative apparatus. They are responsible for certain topics, to which they public reports and recommendations to the College. There are following Teams: Presidential, Terrorism Countering, Liaison Judicial Officers and European Evidence Warrant, Illegal Trading and Related Criminal Activity, Financial and Economic Crime, EPOC and Personal Data Protection, Relations with Third Countries and International Organizations, Cooperation with Europol, Case Strategy and Management, Cooperation with OLAF, Brussels Team for Cooperation with EU Institutions and Administrative Team.

 

Eurojust exercises its competence wither through its National Members or its acts as the College, whereas we need to point out that Eurojust is not competent to adopt decisions binding for Member States, but it is a “mere” coordinating and recommending authority in the area of international cooperation in criminal matters.

 

Eurojust acting through National Members:

- may request the competent authorities of concerned Member States to:

* initiate investigation or prosecution of certain crimes;

* agree that one of them is capable of better conducting investigation or prosecution of certain crimes;

* coordinate the competent authorities of concerned Member States;

* assemble a JIT based on the appropriate cooperation mechanisms;

* provide Eurojust with information necessary to fulfil its tasks;

* adopt special investigation procedures;

* adopt any other measures reasonably justified for conducting investigation or prosecution.

- secures provision of information on investigation and prosecution among the individual Member States;

- secures the best possible coordination of investigation and prosecution;

- coordinates the competent domestic authorities;

- cooperates with the European Judicial Network.

 

 

Eurojust acting as the College:

- may, in relation to the forms of crime falling within the competence of Europol, request the competent authorities of the individual Member States to

* initiate investigation or prosecution of certain crimes;

* agree that one of them is capable of better conducting investigation or prosecution of certain crimes;

* coordinate the competent authorities of concerned Member States;

* assemble a JIT based on the appropriate cooperation mechanisms;

* provide it with any information necessary to fulfil its tasks.

- secures provision of information on investigation and prosecution among the competent authorities of individual Member States, which it learned about and which may have potential impact at the Union level;

- secures the best possible coordination of investigation and prosecution;

- facilitates improvement of cooperation between authorities of individual Member States, in particular on the basis of Europol analyses;

- cooperates with the European Judicial Network;

- cooperates with Europol;

- secures logistic support [6].

 

 In case two or more National Members cannot agree on how to deal with a competence dispute, Eurojust may, as the College, issue a non-binding written opinion on the case. Eurojust may also issue a non-binding opinion in case of repeated rejections or complications in executing of requests and decisions on judicial cooperation. If the competent authorities do not accept the Eurojust’s recommendation, they are obliged to justify their position.

 

The last revision of the Decision [7] introduces a so called On-Call Coordination system, which allows around the clock contact between all national representatives in Eurojust. Also, the minimal competences of National Members have been specified, which include, but are not limited to access to information contained in records, if the National Member believes such information is necessary for due fulfilment of his tasks. National Members may turn directly to the competent authorities of their Member States and they should also be entitled to receive, forward, facilitate and provide additional information and perform additional activities in relation to execution of requests for mutual legal assistance. In case of a partial or insufficient execution of a mutual legal assistance request the National Members should be entitled to request the competent authority of their Member State for taking additional steps in order to complete the execution of the request and they should be entitled to participate on Joint Investigation Teams, including their creation.

 

With a consent of the competent domestic authority the National Members may draft and execute mutual legal assistance requests and order performance of such steps in their respective Member States that were identified as necessary at coordination meetings organized by Eurojust, and finally they may also authorize and coordinate controlled deliveries in their respective Member States. In urgent cases where they cannot identify or contact the competent domestic authority in time, the National Members are entitled to authorize and coordinate controlled deliveries in their Member State and execute requests and decisions on judicial cooperation in relation to their respective Member States. In case they cannot exercise these competencies on the grounds it would be contrary to constitutional rules or fundamental principles of national criminal justice they should at least be able to present the relevant proposal the competent domestic authority.

 

The above referred revision of the Decision also substantially extended the scope of the obligation of Member States to supply Eurojust with information on pending criminal proceedings, According to art. 13 of the Decision the competent authorities of Member States are obliged to exchange with Eurojust “all information necessary for fulfilment of its tasks”, which concern in particular information on cases directly related to at least 3 Member States, whereas at least 2 Member States received requests for mutual legal assistance or decisions within the framework of international judicial cooperation in criminal matters, and

* it concerns a crime, for which the law prescribes a sentence of imprisonment with the upper limit of at least 5 years or a protective measure in duration of at least 5 years, and which consists in the following conduct:

- trafficking in human beings,

- sexual exploitation of children and child pornography,

- illicit trade in narcotic and psychotropic substances,

- illicit trade with firearms, ammunition and explosives,

- corruption,

- fraud harming the interests of the European Communities in the sense of the Convention of July 26, 1995 on the Protection of Financial Interests of European Communities,

- forgery of Euro currency,

- money laundering,

- attack on an information system, or

* factual findings imply that the crime was committed by an organized group, or

* it may have a significant cross-border dimension or impact at the EU level, or may concern also other Member States.

 

Eurojust must be also informed of:

- creation of a Joint Investigation team and results of its activities,

- cases where parallel criminal proceedings are being conducted against the same person in the Czech Republic and in one or more other Member States or where one can reasonably believe that such case will arise,

- controlled deliveries related to at least three states, at least two of which are Member States,  

- repeated rejections or difficulties in the course of execution of requests for international judicial assistance in criminal matters or in securing the execution of decisions sent into another state within the framework of international judicial assistance in criminal matters.

 

This information allows Eurojust to screen its case records (CMS) in order to offer adequate and timely assistance to the competent authorities of Member States in early stages of criminal proceedings. Such information is not provided to Eurojust in case it would imperil material national security interests or safety of persons.

 

Representation of the Prosecutor General’s Office in Eurojust

 

As of February 1, 2011, the Minister of Justice has appointed Mgr. Lukáš Starý, a public prosecutor from Karviná, as National Member to Eurojust. The previous National Member JUDr. Pavel Zeman, who was appointed as the Prosecutor General, has resigned to his position in Eurojust with effect as of January 31, 2011. Deputy of National Member is JUDr. Anna Richterová.

 

Contact address:

 

Eurojust
Maanweg 174
2516 AB, The Hague
The Netherlands

Tel.: +31 70 412 5000
Fax: + 31 70 412 5005
Email: 
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Data mailbox ID of the National Member of the Czech Republic in Eurojust: gn5rgc9

 

More information available at: http://www.eurojust.europa.eu/

 


[1] Council Decision of 28 February 2002 setting up Eurojust with a view to reinforcing the fight against serious crime (2002/187/JHA) – Official Journal L 63, 6. 3. 2002, p. 1.

[2] OJ No L 324/2-3, 21. 12. 2000.

[3] Council Decision 2003/659/JHA of 18 June 2003, amending Decision 2002/187/JHA setting up Eurojust with a view to reinforcing the fight against serious crime - Official Journal L  245, 29.9.2003, p. 44—46.

[4] Council Decision 2009/426/JHA of 16 December 2008 on the strengthening of Eurojust and amending Decision 2002/187/JHA setting up Eurojust with a

view to reinforcing the fight against serious crime, Official Journal L 138, 4.6.2009, p. 14—32.

[5] Strategic concept on tackling organised crime - Commission Communication to the Council and the European Parliament of 2 June 2005: Developing a strategic concept on tackling organised crime COM(2005) 232.

[6] Logistic support provided by Eurojust includes e.g. translations, interpreting and organizational assistance at coordination meetings. Eurojust also significantly participates on the project of financing Joint Investigation teams financed by the Commision.

[7] Council Decisions do not have direct effect, they need to be implemented by Member States into their law. Council 2009/426/JHA the strengthening of Eurojust should be implemented by Member States as of 4.6.2011.

 

 
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