European Network for investigation and prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes
What is the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes?
The crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes (hereinafter referred to as ‘core international crimes’), are deemed to be the most serious crimes which shock the conscience of humanity and threaten the peace, security and well-being of the world.
The evolution of international criminal law and the establishment of ad hoc tribunals in the early 1990s, followed by the foundation of the International Criminal Court (ICC), reflect the seriousness of these crimes and the need for a strong reaction against their perpetrators. However, the fight against impunity is not restricted to international institutions; in fact, the primary responsibility to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of these crimes lies with states.
What is the Genocide Network?
The European Network of Contact Points in respect of responsible for the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes (‘the Genocide Network’) is a body established by the Council of the EU (Council Decisions 2002/494/JHA and 2003/335/JHA) to ensure close cooperation between national authorities in investigating and prosecuting core international crimes, as defined in Articles 6, 7 and 8 of the Rome Statute of the ICC.
All EU Member States have ratified the Rome Statute of the ICC, but the Court remains complementary to the national systems of criminal law. National authorities are thus responsible for the investigation and prosecution of core international crimes. Close cooperation at national and transnational level can stop the impunity of the perpetrators who cross and reside within the European Union’s frontiers.
The Genocide Network constitutes a unique forum for practitioners to meet, discuss, exchange information, best practice and experience, cooperate and assist each other in investigating and prosecuting persons responsible for core international crimes.
For this purpose, each EU Member State has designated to the Genocide Network one or more Contact Points who facilitate cooperation and exchange of information between the EU Member States’ national authorities. At the same time, the Contact Points form the Genocide Network, which has an active and flexible structure. Since 2011, the coordinated and continued work of the Genocide Network is supported by the Genocide Network Secretariat (GNS), hosted by Eurojust, in The Hague.
The Genocide Network meets biannually at meetings convened by the EU Council Presidency. In this forum, the EU Member States’ national authorities coordinate their ongoing investigations and prosecutions of people suspected of having committed, or participated in the commission of, the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. At the same time, they share investigative, prosecutorial and trial experiences on these crimes, related methods and best practice.
Further, the Genocide Network enhances close cooperation with the national authorities of third States, Europol, Eurojust, the European Asylum Support Office, the ICC, other international tribunals as well as the civil society for the effective prosecution of the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
In November 2014, the Genocide Network adopted the Strategy of the EU Genocide Network to combat impunity for the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes within the European Union and its Member States. The Strategy, based on the experience of practitioners and past meetings of the Genocide Network, identifies best practice and includes a list of recommendations for EU Member States and Institutions to combat impunity.
In November 2018 the Network adopted the Guidelines on the Functioning of the Network. This document includes principles that supplement the Network’s legal basis (Council Decision 2002/494/JHA and Council Decision 2003/335/JHA) by providing a detailed framework on the Network’s composition, facilitating requests from non-EU Member States to participate in meetings, determining the level of engagement of national contact points and the nature of different sessions, and by outlining the existing practices of the functioning of the Network.
For all enquiries, please contact the Genocide Network Secretariat.
Please click on the desired language button below to view/download the general information leaflet of European Network for investigation and prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Please note that Eurojust’s premises are now located at Johan de Wittlaan 9, 2517 JR The Hague, the Netherlands.