The European Council has approved a new EU law establishing a digital platform that will facilitate exchanging information between prosecutors and judges working together to bring criminals to justice.
Gunnar Strömmer, Swedish Minister of Justice, believes that criminal activities do not stop at borders and cross-border investigations are essential to reduce crime.
This digital platform should make it easier for law enforcement and judicial authorities to share information and evidence and communicate with colleagues in other countries.
The platform is designed to facilitate the coordination and daily management of joint research teams (JIT). It will also allow the exchange and temporary storage of information and operational evidence, guaranteeing secure communication and enabling the traceability of evidence.
The platform will be connected to the IT tools used by the authorities participating in the JITs. Institutions will strongly recommend the use of the platform, although its use will be voluntary.
Eu-LISA, the European Union’s agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice, will be responsible for designing, developing and operating the platform.
Joint investigation teams bring together, for a limited period of time, authorities from two or more EU and possibly third countries for specific cross-border criminal investigations. The members of these teams will be able to exchange evidence directly with each other, without the need for traditional judicial cooperation procedures.
JITs have been in place since 2002 but have been faced with a number of technical difficulties related, for example, to the secure electronic exchange of information and evidence and to secure electronic communication.
The new regulation will enter into force on the twentieth day following its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union and will be directly applicable to all European Union countries.
The platform’s operational start date shall be, at the latest, two and a half years after the entry into force of the regulation.