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Presidential foreword

Dear reader,

Welcome to Eurojust’s second newsletter of 2022. I remember writing for the first one that it had been a busy first quarter at Eurojust, and I am confident I speak on everyone’s behalf that this has not been different in recent weeks and months. As the armed conflict in Ukraine rages on, it continues to shape the work and responsibilities of Eurojust.

The past quarter saw for instance Eurojust’s legal mandate extended to preserving, analysing and storing evidence on core international crimes. This will lead to set up a dedicated Core International Crimes Evidence Database (CICED), for which work is underway. Closely connected, this newsletter offers an update on the joint investigation team (JIT) on alleged core international crimes in Ukraine and on how it has grown bigger in size. Already now, it is the single largest JIT Eurojust has ever supported, and its work is met also with political interest. On 31 May, Eurojust hosted EU Commissioners Reynders (Justice) and Johansson (Home Affairs) to take stock of the judicial dimension of the EU response to the war in Ukraine.

At the same time, Eurojust continues to support EU Member States’ operational work in the fight against serious cross-border crime. In the casework section of this letter, you will find links to some of our operational highlights, which include support to what is believed to be the biggest ever international operation targeting small boat people smugglers, the dismantling of a human trafficking network between Romania and the United Kingdom, and the judicial authorities in Italy and Austria halting a massive fraud scheme. The same applies to our analytical work, with among many others the release of the 7th issue of the Cybercrime Judicial Monitor (CJM), and our efforts dedicated to developing closer partnerships across borders. We were pleased to welcome Assistant US Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. for the workshop dedicated to our cooperation on ransomware attacks, and welcomed further engagement with our South Partner Countries (SPCs) through the EuroMed Justice Program.
And last but surely not least, spring has been a period to also welcome new colleagues. Let me take this opportunity to welcome once again Mr Michael Schmid (National Member for Austria), Ms Marie Lind Thomsen (National Member for Sweden) and Mr Jan MacLean (National Member for Germany).

I hope you will enjoy reading our newsletter and I wish you an excellent summer!

Ladislav Hamran
President of Eurojust
In Focus
Margarita Šniutytė-Daugėlienė elected Vice-President of Eurojust

Margarita Šniutytė-Daugėlienė, National Member for Lithuania, was elected Eurojust Vice-President on 28 June 2022. Ms Šniutytė-Daugėlienė has been representing the Lithuanian judiciary at Eurojust since 2019 and will serve a mandate of four years with immediate effect.

European Commissioners for Justice and Home Affairs visit Agency to discuss steps forward after amendment of Eurojust Regulation

The European Commissioners for Justice and Home Affairs, Mr Didier Reynders and Ms Ylva Johansson, visited the Agency to discuss the next steps in view of the amendment of the Eurojust Regulation. The European Parliament adopted the amendment, which enables Eurojust to gather and store evidence on core international crimes committed in Ukraine.

Estonia, Latvia and Slovakia become members of joint investigation team on alleged core international crimes in Ukraine

The judicial authorities of Estonia, Latvia and Slovakia have become members of the joint investigation team on alleged core international crimes, which has been set up with the support of Eurojust. The Prosecutors General of the three EU Member States signed an agreement to join the JIT, together with their counterparts from Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine.

New investigations on core international crimes increase by 44% since 2016

Investigations and prosecutions of the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes (known collectively as core international crimes) have steadily risen within the European Union since 2016. A total of 1 547 new cases were opened in 2021, compared with 1 073 in 2016, which represents a 44% increase. In 2021, 3 171 cases were ongoing across all Member States. These are some of the findings presented during the 7th EU Day Against Impunity for Genocide, Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes, organised by the French Presidency of the Council, the European Commission, Eurojust and the Genocide Network.

ICC participates in joint investigation team supported by Eurojust on alleged core international crimes in Ukraine

ICC Prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan QC and the Prosecutors General of the three countries involved signed an agreement on the first-ever participation of the Office of the Prosecutor in a JIT.

Europe that protects – French EU Presidency seminar on justice and internal security

As a part of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the French Embassy in the Netherlands organised a seminar on some of the current internal security challenges of the European Union and the cross-border judicial cooperation that needs to be developed in response.

Casework highlights
Major operation against migrant smuggling in the English Channel: 39 arrests

Supported by Eurojust and Europol, authorities in France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom have dismantled a criminal network suspected of using small boats to smuggle up to 10 000 migrants across the English Channel. It is believed to be the biggest ever international operation targeting small boat people smugglers.

Eurojust supports action against use of illegal emission devices in South Korean cars

Supported by Eurojust, authorities in Germany and Luxembourg have carried out a coordinated action against the use of illegal emission devices in cars produced by two South Korean companies. During an action day, eight searches were carried out and communication data, software and planning documents were seized.

Large-scale operation in Germany and Romania against organised abuse of social benefits

Authorities in Germany and Romania have dismantled a criminal network suspected of defrauding the German state of up to EUR 2 million in child benefits. During an action day supported by Eurojust, one suspect was arrested and 44 places were searched in both countries.

Eurojust assists Romania and UK in dismantling human trafficking network

With support from Eurojust, authorities in Romania and the United Kingdom have taken action against an organised crime group involved in the trafficking of Romanian women for sexual exploitation in the United Kingdom.

Fraud against Italian national health system halted with Eurojust support

Supported by Eurojust, judicial and law enforcement authorities in Italy and Albania have dismantled a criminal network suspected of committing fraud against the Italian national health system, as well as corruption and drug trafficking. During an action day, nine suspects were arrested.

Slovak and Czech authorities take action against right-wing terrorism

A 22-year-old suspected of committing several terrorist and extremist crimes has been arrested in Slovakia. In an action supported by Eurojust, Europol and the United States, Slovak and Czech authorities searched two locations and seized a 3D printer and printed metal parts of weapons, computers and other electronic devices.

Operation against drug traffickers in Italy, Spain and Netherlands: 24 arrests

Authorities in Italy, Spain and the Netherlands conducted an operation against a major drug trafficking network, which allegedly used the art trade in the Netherlands to launder the profits of its illegal business. Eurojust coordinated and supported the action, which led to the arrest of 24 suspects.

Takedown of infrastructure of call centres involved in online investment fraud responsible for losses of at least EUR 20 million

At the request of the Estonian authorities, Eurojust and Europol have assisted the takedown of an online investment fraud scheme, which defrauded victims of at least EUR 20 million. Authorities in six countries supported the operation during which more than fifty servers and services were seized.

Fraud scheme of at least EUR 440 million in Italy halted

Italian and Austrian authorities have dismantled a massive fraud scheme set up by a criminal network that used Italian companies to simulate business leases and false tax credits. The perpetrators deprived the Italian authorities of at least EUR 440 million. With the help of Eurojust, approximately 90% of the proceeds have been recovered.

At Eurojust
Jan MacLean takes up duty as new National Member for Germany

Jan MacLean has started as new National Member for Germany at Eurojust, succeeding former Vice-President of the Agency Klaus Meyer-Cabri. Mr MacLean has long-standing experience and expertise in international judicial cooperation, including involvement in the implementation and revision of the legal basis of Eurojust.

EU and South Partner Countries discuss environmental justice in Mediterranean Sea

In a dedicated conference, judicial practitioners from EU Member States and the South Partner Countries shared good practices for the more effective application of environmental law. The main aim of the event was to explore the development of a network of magistrates specialised in environmental law on both sides of the Mediterranean Sea.

EU and US foster cooperation against ransomware attacks

Ransomware has become a global problem that requires cooperation on a worldwide level. Judicial experts and practitioners from the European Union and the United States participated in a two-day workshop in The Hague organised by Eurojust and the U.S. Department of Justice. The event aimed to share best practices and enhance collaboration in confronting ransomware attacks.

59th Plenary meeting of the EJN under the French Presidency

On 15-17 June 2022 the 59th Plenary Meeting of the European Judicial Network (EJN), held under the French Presidency of the Council of the EU, took place in Bordeaux, France.

Focus group of prosecutors specialised in human trafficking meets for the first time

Organised by the European Commission, together with Eurojust, the first informal meeting of the focus group of specialised prosecutors against trafficking in human beings brought together prosecutors and judges from the European Union Member States.

Judicial experts discuss cryptocurrency challenges

The 12th Plenary Meeting of the European Judicial Cybercrime Network (EJCN) focused on the new challenges posed by cryptocurrencies to law enforcement and judicial authorities. Hosted by Eurojust in a hybrid format, the EJCN Plenary also paid special attention to the implications of the war in Ukraine in cyber-enabled crime.

Michael Schmid returns to Eurojust in new role as National Member for Austria

Michael Schmid is returning to Eurojust to take up his new role as National Member for Austria, replacing Gerhard Jarosch. Until last year, Mr Schmid was a deputy National Member at the Agency, and previously an assistant at the Austrian desk. In his previous role at Eurojust, he was Vice-Chair of the Counter-Terrorism Team among his other responsibilities.

31st Genocide Network Meeting held on 6 and 7 April 2022 under the French Presidency of the Council

The 31st plenary meeting of the Genocide Network, convened by the French Presidency, took take place on 6 and 7 April 2022 in a hybrid format. The notion and use of structural investigations in relation to core international crimes cases was discussed during the first half of the Open Session (6 April). The second part of the day delved into main highlights of the Koblenz trial, concerning a high-ranking Syrian official convicted for crimes against humanity. Various perspectives (from investigators, forensic experts, prosecutors, victims and civil society) provided an in-depth overview of the trial and underlined best practices.

EJTN-GNS Joint Training for European Judges and Prosecutors

The Nuremberg Academy hosted the third 'Joint Training on the Investigation and Prosecution of Core International Crimes', organised in Nuremberg by the European Judicial Training Network (EJTN) and the Genocide Network Secretariat (GNS) hosted by Eurojust, from 22 to 24 June 2022.

Eurojust reports
Cybercrime Judicial Monitor - Issue 7
Guidelines on Joint Investigation Teams Involving Third Countries
Key factors for successful investigations and prosecutions of core international crimes
20 Years On: Main Developments in the Fight Against Impunity for Core International Crimes in the EU
Eurojust’s role in safeguarding victims’ rights in cross-border crime
Eurojust’s Work in the Fight Against Migrant Smuggling
Eurojust Casework on Corruption: 2016-2021 Insights
Conclusions of the 31st Genocide Network meeting, 6-7 April 2022
Looking ahead
  • Guidance on the Identification of Victims and Witnesses of Core International Crimes
  • Documenting international crimes and human rights violations for accountability purposes: Guidelines for civil society organisations
  • Joint paper on the JHA Agencies’ contribution to the EU solidarity with Ukraine
  • COVID-19 RESPONSE: Summary of main actions taken by EU Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) agencies
  • 20 Years of Eurojust: EU judicial cooperation in the making – A collection of anniversary essays
  • Artificial Intelligence Supporting Cross-border Cooperation in Criminal Justice – Joint report prepared by eu-LISA and Eurojust
  • Anti-money laundering report
  • 29 September (tbc): EU-US Liaison meeting on environmental crime
  • 30 September (tbc): European Network of Prosecutors for the Environment (ENPE) annual general meeting & 10 year anniversary conference
  • 5-6 October: 18th Annual Meeting of National Experts on Joint Investigation Teams

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Catalogue number: QP-AH-22-002-EN-Q

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