Amendment as regards the storage, preservation and analysis of evidence in war crimes (Regulation (EU) 2022/838 of 30 May 2022)
On 25 April 2022, the European Commission proposed to amend the Eurojust Regulation to give the Agency the legal possibility to store, preserve and analyse evidence on war crimes. The Commission statement underlined that ‘to ensure accountability for the crimes committed in Ukraine, it is crucial to ensure safe storage of evidence outside Ukraine as well as to support the investigations and prosecutions by various European and international judicial authorities. While Eurojust has practical experience on international crimes, the existing Regulation did not envisage a situation of this scale and crimes of this extent, requiring an update in Eurojust’s legal base.’
The amendment, which entered into force on 1 June 2022, reinforces the Agency’s existing legal basis to deal with evidence of core international crimes. The two major changes include:
- the creation of a dedicated database at Eurojust to store evidence of core international crimes; and
- Eurojust’s new mandate to analyse the evidence stored in the dedicated database.
Since the entry into force of this amendment, Eurojust has set up the database where evidence of war crimes is preserved and stored securely. The Agency analyses the evidence to establish links, identify investigative gaps and advise prosecutors on the way forward. Eurojust works closely with the International Criminal Court, so that analysis can also benefit their investigation, through their cooperation with States concerned. Access to the information is subject to the approval of the country who provided it.
Amendment as regards digital information exchange in terrorism cases (Regulation (EU) 2023/2131 of 4 October 2023)
On 2 December 2021, the Commission tabled a proposal to amend the Eurojust Regulation as regards the digital information exchange in terrorism cases. This proposal was part of the 'Security and Justice in the Digital World' package, a series of legislative initiatives intended to modernise judicial cooperation.
This amendment of the Eurojust Regulation
- enhances Eurojust’s ability to identify links between prior and ongoing cross-border terrorism cases and other forms of serious cross-border crimes, thus enabling Member States, with the assistance of Eurojust, to better coordinate their investigation measures and judicial responses;
- establishes a modern Case Management System (CMS) fit for the 21st century, and provides a secure digital communication channel between Member States and Eurojust; and
- simplifies cooperation with third countries by granting Liaison Prosecutors direct access to the CMS.
Following formal adoption by the European Parliament and the Council, the legislative amendment of the Eurojust Regulation was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 4 October 2023, and entered into force on 31 October 2023.