The Hague, 24 June 2016
On 22 and 23 June, Eurojust gathered for the fourth consecutive year its national correspondents for terrorism matters to continue exchanging views on the best way forward in building an effective judicial response to the phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters. Participants at the tactical meeting also included specialised counter-terrorism prosecutors from the Member States and third States, the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, the head of the European Counter Terrorism Centre at Europol and the Director of the EU Intelligence and Situation Centre (INTCEN). The meeting was chaired by Ms Michèle Coninsx, President of Eurojust and Chair of Eurojust’s Counter-Terrorism Team.
Lessons learned from ongoing investigations and prosecutions were exchanged during the meeting to highlight national experience in dealing with cases involving terrorist attacks, recruitment networks, and preparatory acts for terrorism. As most cases show cross-border links, the coordinating role of Eurojust was emphasized as a best practice in facilitating and speeding up judicial cooperation, and in supporting and funding joint investigation teams in complex terrorism cases. Plenary presentations were combined with active discussions in workshops with a focus on the admissibility of intelligence as evidence for criminal proceedings, the special and emergency powers applicable in case of terrorist attacks, as well as de-radicalisation programmes and alternatives for prosecution and detention.
At the end of the meeting, Ms Coninsx said:
The threat of foreign terrorist fighters is more diverse, complex and serious than ever. It is essential that work is not done in isolation. It is also important to acknowledge that the judicial dimension is crucial to secure convictions in terrorism cases. Trust is equally vital. Over the past 10 years, Eurojust has built trust amongst specialised prosecutors and developed an informal network of national correspondents for terrorism matters that gathers annually at Eurojust. Getting this network on standby would be practically impossible without trust. After the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels, this network could be rapidly activated. Eurojust will continue to support national authorities in their fight against terrorism and violent extremism, on both operational and tactical levels.