To step up the fight against cross-border crime, the European Council has adopted negotiating mandates on a proposal on the exchange of digital information in terrorism cases and a proposal to create a collaboration platform for joint investigation teams. These proposals are part of ongoing work to modernise and digitalise cross-border judicial cooperation to facilitate the exchange of information for prosecutors and judges and bring to justice the growing number of criminals and terrorists operating across borders.
Currently, member states share information with Eurojust on terrorism-related cases through various channels. This information is then included in the European Judicial Counter-Terrorism Register, a technically obsolete system that does not allow for adequate cross-checking of information.
The proposal aims to correct these shortcomings and enable Eurojust to play a stronger and more proactive role in supporting coordination and cooperation between national authorities responsible for investigating and prosecuting terrorist offences.
The proposal includes:
- Creating a modern, digital case management system that stores this information and allows it to be cross-checked.
- Empowering Eurojust to better detect links between transnational investigations and prosecutions in the field of terrorism and to proactively inform member states of links found.
- Creating a secure digital communication channel between Member States and Eurojust.
- Simplifying cooperation with third countries by granting liaison prosecutors appointed at Eurojust access to the case management system.
Ministers will also seek to adopt a general guideline on the draft Regulation establishing a collaborative platform for joint investigation teams (JITs). These teams are created to develop specific criminal investigations for a set period of time. They are set up by the competent authorities of two or more Member States, with the possible participation of third countries concerned, to jointly manage cross-border investigations. The JIT framework allows team members to exchange evidence directly, without the need for traditional judicial cooperation procedures.
The proposed platform will facilitate the day-to-day coordination and management of JITs, ensure the exchange and temporary storage of operational information and evidence, and ensure secure communication and traceability of evidence. It must be accessible through a secure internet connection and shall include a centralised information system and a connection between this system and the relevant IT tools used by the JITs. Use of the platform will be encouraged but will remain voluntary.