EU Member States and third countries increasingly call on Eurojust to coordinate counter-terrorism investigations with a cross-border dimension. The European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation today published the 2019 Eurojust Report on Counter-Terrorism, which shows a steady growth in terrorism-related cases. Last year, the Agency registered 94 new requests of that nature, an increase of 16 percent. Over the same period, it supported eight joint investigation teams (JITs) with a counter-terrorism scope, two of which were newly formed. In 2019, Eurojust also launched the European Judicial Counter-Terrorism Register (CTR), a unique operational tool that provides proactive support to national authorities.
In total, Eurojust organised 24 coordination meetings and coordinated 222 ongoing cases related to counter-terrorism last year. They concerned, for example, ongoing investigations and prosecutions regarding terrorist attacks that had either been committed or were planned. Other cases in which Eurojust provided assistance related to participation in or support to a terrorist group, the production and dissemination of terrorist propaganda, provocation, public incitement or the instigation of others to commit terrorist acts. Some of these cases targeted foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) travelling to a conflict zone to join the ranks of a terrorist group or undergo terrorist training. Others focused on terrorist networks and cells involved in the recruitment, financing, logistical support and facilitation of the travel or return of FTFs.
In some counter-terrorism investigations, the alleged terrorist activities were committed in combination with other offences, such as human trafficking, migrant smuggling, and drugs and arms trade. These crimes were often connected to money laundering or tax offences, with possible links to the financing of terrorism, and with computer crimes and the forgery of official documents. International judicial cooperation was also successfully used to support victims of terrorist attacks and to safeguard and guarantee their rights.
In order to support Member States with judicial investigations into cross-border terrorist activities, in September 2019 Eurojust launched the European Judicial Counter-Terrorism Register. Based on Council Decision 2005/671/JHA of 20 September 2005 and established in close consultation with Member States, the Register aims to provide support in identifying potential links between judicial proceedings and determining possible coordination needs. By doing so, it helps national authorities to build a stronger judicial response to terrorism. Recently, experts from the Member States took stock of the progress and development of the Counter-Terrorism Register.