In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Eurojust’s role in fighting core international crimes was significantly enhanced in 2022, says the Agency’s Annual Report, published on 24 May. Just weeks after the outbreak of the war, the Agency provided essential support to the set-up of a joint investigation team (JIT) into alleged war crimes in Ukraine. Subsequently, Eurojust’s mandate was rapidly extended to allow the Agency to store and analyse evidence on core international crimes. By the end of the year, the European Commission asked Eurojust to host the International Centre for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine (ICPA).
These are the landmark events that shaped Eurojust’s work in 2022 and will continue to in the years to come, according to the Agency’s Annual Report. Commenting on the war’s impact on Eurojust’s activities, Ms Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, stated: “Responding to the unjustified invasion of Ukraine by Russia has permanently changed the nature of Eurojust’s work. I am determined to see the European Union lead the fight for full accountability for the horrendous crimes committed in Ukraine. Eurojust has stepped up to the plate and has proven exactly what it is capable of.”
While actively providing dedicated support to justice for Ukraine, Eurojust continued to deliver on its mandate to fight all serious cross-border crime. The Agency’s casework increased by 14% in 2022 compared to 2021. Eurojust handled 11 544 criminal investigations last year, including more than 2 000 large-scale operations. The Agency helped bring justice to more than 300 000 crime victims, which is three times as many victims as in the previous year.
Eurojust President, Mr Ladislav Hamran, commented: “2022 was a year unlike many others for Eurojust. In addition to our Ukraine-related work, our caseload increased significantly. We look forward to sustaining and supporting the further growth curve that lies ahead, with the undoubtable challenges that this will bring.”
Eurojust contributed to the arrest of more than 4 000 suspects, the seizure and or freezing of criminal assets worth almost EUR 3 billion, and the seizure of drugs worth almost EUR 12 billion. These operational outcomes are the result of effective transnational cooperation between judicial authorities, facilitated by Eurojust, in close cooperation with all actors in the criminal justice chain.