The joint efforts across the European Union to fight terrorism will be stepped up by judicial authorities sharing a wider range of information on terrorism cases with Eurojust. EU Member States have an improved legal basis to inform on ongoing and concluded terrorism cases with the entry into force today of an amendment of the Eurojust Regulation. These data will be transmitted to the European Judicial Counter-Terrorism Register (CTR) managed by Eurojust. This will help to better detect links between terrorism cases or connections with other serious crimes.
Commenting on the entry into force of the new Regulation, Eurojust President Mr Ladislav Hamran said:
The recent attacks in Belgium and France confirm that the threat of terrorism on European soil is still very much alive. Close coordination and early information sharing are crucial ingredients in the successful fight against this heinous crime, and this is precisely what we expect to achieve by reinforcing the Counter-Terrorism Register. I also warmly welcome the other amendments to our Regulation concerning the modernisation of our Case Management System and the role of Liaison Prosecutors, as they fully reflect our Agency’s priorities in the areas of digitalisation and global partnerships.
The CTR was launched in September 2019, based on a Council Decision from 2005. The provisions on sharing information with Eurojust have now been removed from the Council Decision and included in the amended Eurojust Regulation. The purpose of the CTR is to establish links between suspects and terrorist networks and ongoing and past investigations across the EU.
The CTR is a practical operational tool that can help identify links previously unknown to national authorities. Therefore, transmitting information to Eurojust as soon as a case is referred to judicial authorities is key to strengthening terrorism investigations and prosecutions. It also helps to prevent potential double prosecution of suspects, according to the ne bis in idem principle.
While respecting the ownership and confidentiality of data, the enhanced information sharing will enable Eurojust to better coordinate and support national authorities in the most efficient way and bring perpetrators of terrorist offences to justice.
To facilitate the improved information sharing, Eurojust is now setting up an advanced and state-of-the-art digital infrastructure fit for the 21st century. A new Case Management System will integrate and enable the functionalities of the CTR. It will be connected to national authorities through secure communication channels, in line with the European Commission’s plan to modernise EU justice systems.
The concrete need to introduce the CTR was underscored by the terrorist attacks in Paris and Saint-Denis in November 2015. At the time, Eurojust was already helping national authorities to establish links between alleged suspects in France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. To date, 915 terrorism cases have been registered at the Agency.
The amendment of the Eurojust Regulation also enhances Eurojust’s international dimension. Liaison Prosecutors* from third countries based at Eurojust are legally recognised as essential cooperation partners. Not only are they now explicitly mentioned in Eurojust’s founding instrument, but the procedure for opening cases by Liaison Prosecutors is now comparable to that of the Agency’s National Desks.
This means they can directly open requests for cooperation to EU Member States. This change will speed up cooperation between Liaison Prosecutors and EU national authorities, and help in the fight against major organised crime worldwide.
*Currently, Liaison Prosecutors from the following countries are based at Eurojust: Albania, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States.