The use of joint investigation teams (JITs) into core international crimes is the main topic of discussion at the 18th annual meeting of EU National Experts in this field. The meeting, hosted today and tomorrow by the JITs Network Secretariat at Eurojust, will focus, in particular, on the joint investigation team between Ukraine and five EU Member States, set up with the support of the Agency.
Ms Tatiana Jancewicz, Head of the JITs Network Secretariat, said:
With a war raging at the EU’s borders, during these past months it has become clear that a JIT is also one of the best tools to facilitate investigations into core international crimes committed in the context of an armed conflict. At the same time, it is evident that JITs investigating core international crimes are likely to encounter specific challenges that need to be addressed.
The 18th annual meeting was opened by Eurojust Vice-President and National Member for Lithuania, Ms Margarita Sniutyte-Daugeliene, and Mr Claudio Galzerano, Head of Department at Europol’s Counter-Terrorism Centre. Eurojust and Europol have a long-standing cooperation and partnership regarding JITs.
On 25 March, this year, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine set up a JIT into alleged core international crimes committed in Ukraine, with the active support of Eurojust and the Network Secretariat. The Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) joined the JIT as a participant in April, with the Slovak Republic, Latvia and Estonia joining in May.
In view of the participation of the Office of the Prosecutor, and the increased involvement of international bodies and agencies as partners in joint investigation teams, JIT National Experts will also visit the ICC on 6 October.
During the annual meeting, Ms Myroslava Krasnoborova, Liaison Prosecutor for Ukraine at Eurojust, will give a presentation on her practical experiences from supporting a JIT in times of war. Furthermore, representatives of national authorities and JIT practitioners will share experiences and discuss a range of related issues, including the gathering of evidence in a war situation, the possible benefit of inviting the ICC, and the relationship between JITs and structural investigations.
JITs are one of the most advanced judicial cooperation tools used in criminal matters. A JIT agreement between competent authorities of two or more countries is the basis for such a team carrying out cross-border investigations.
The JITs Network is composed of at least one expert per Member State, who acts as a contact point for national authorities, such as prosecutors, investigative judges and law enforcement authorities. All national experts have long-standing expertise in the functioning of JITs and can provide information on the practicalities of setting up teams with other countries. The JITs Network Secretariat is hosted by Eurojust.