Eurojust

The foundation of Eurojust [1] is one of the most important projects realized by the EU in the area of cooperation between member states in criminal matters.

Logo Eurojustu

History of Eurojust goes as far as to the European Council meeting held in Tampere (October 1999), where the requirement for creation of a judicial cooperation unit (Eurojust) was raised in order to reinforce combatting serious organized crime. The European Council decided to create the Eurojust unit composed of national public prosecutors, judges or police officers with similar competences, delegated by individual member states in compliance with their national laws.

This requirement was followed by a Council Decision of 14.12.2000 on the creation of a Provisional Judicial Cooperation Unit – Pro-Eurojust [2]. This unit was based in Brussels, it was supported by the Council infrastructure and it began its operation on 1.3.2001. The objectives of the project were formulated as follows:

  • to improve cooperation between the competent national authorities in the course of investigation and prosecution of serious organized crime that concerns two or more member states
  • in the same framework to support and improve the coordination of investigation and criminal prosecution,
  • to provide its expert knowledge to member states and Council, if necessary in order to negotiate and adopt the legislative tool establishing Eurojust

The objective of Pro-Eurojust members according to this article was to contribute, within their statutory competences laid down by national laws and in cooperation with any competent authorities, to due coordination and facilitation of judicial cooperation between the competent national authorities in the course of investigation and criminal prosecution of serious organized crime concerning two or more member states.

Eurojust was established by the Council decision of 28. 2.2002 – 2002/187/JHA (hereinafter referred to as “Decision”). Since April 2003 its seat is in Haague. This decision was then amended by the Council decision of 18.6.2003 – 2003/659/JHA [3] and Council decision of 16.12.2008 – 2009/426/JHA on strengthening of Eurojust [4]. An important milestone in the development of Eurojust was the Regulation (EU) 2018/1727 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 November 2018 (hereinafter referred to as “Regulation”)[5], which superseded the previous Decision, and based upon which Eurojust became the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation.

Activities of the representation of the Czech Republic in Eurojust are defined in Section 21 through 33 of the Act no. 104/2013 Coll., on International Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters.

The competence of Eurojust involves the following criminal offenses:  

  • terrorism
  • organized crime
  • drug trafficking
  • money laundering
  • criminal activity associated with nuclear and radioactive substances
  • illegal immigrant smuggling
  • trafficking in human beings
  • criminal activity associated with motor vehicles
  • murder and grievous bodily harm
  • illicit trade with human organs and tissue
  • kidnapping, illegal restraint and hostage taking
  • racism and xenophobia
  • robbery and aggravated theft
  • illicit trafficking in cultural goods, including antiquities and works of art,
  • swindling and fraud
  • crime against the financial interests of the Union
  • insider dealing and financial market manipulation
  • racketeering and extortion
  • counterfeiting and product piracy
  • forgery of administrative documents and trafficking therein
  • forgery of money and means of payment
  • computer crime
  • corruption
  • illicit trafficking in arms, ammunition and explosives
  • illicit trafficking in endangered animal species
  • illicit trafficking in endangered plant species and varieties,
  • environmental crime, including ship source pollution
  • illicit trafficking in hormonal substances and other growth promoters
  • sexual abuse and sexual exploitation, including child abuse material and solicitation of children for sexual purposes
  • genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes

Furthermore, the competence of Eurojust also includes criminal offenses associated with the above referred crimes. Upon request of the competent authority of a Member State, Eurojust may, in compliance with its objectives, also provide assistance in investigation and prosecution of other forms of crime.

It is also worth mentioning that Eurojust exercises its competence in relation to criminal offenses harming or threatening financial interests of the European Union, which concern Member States participating on the enhanced cooperation in order to establish the Office of European Public Prosecutor, if these criminal offenses do not pertain to the competence of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office or if the European Public Prosecutor’s Office decides not to exercise its competence.

The objective of Eurojust is to facilitate cooperation involving in particular the Member States of the European Union. Nevertheless, upon request of a competent authority of a Member State, Eurojust may also provide assistance in cases concerning only this Member State and a third country, provided that an agreement on cooperation or a working arrangement pursuant to article 52 of the Regulation has been concluded, or if there is vital interest on the provision of such assitance in the specific case.

Upon request of a competent authority of a Member State or the Commission, Eurojust may also provide assistance in cases concerning only this Member State, which, however, have impact on the Union level.

Eurojust facilitates and enhances coordination and cooperation between domestic authorities charged with investigation and prosecution of serious crime pertaining to its competence.

Namely:

  • informs the competent authorities of Member States about investigations and prosecutions it has been notified aboout, which have impact on Union level or could have impact on other than directly involved Member States
  • assists the competent authorities of Member States with securing best possible coordination of investigation and prosecution
  • facilitates improvement of cooperation between competent authorities of Member States , in particular on the basis of Europol analyses
  • cooperates and consult with the European Judicial Network in criminal cases, whreas it uses inter alia the database of documents of EJN and contributes to its improvement
  • closely cooperates with the European Public Prosecutor’s Office in cases pertaining to its competence
  • provides operative, technical and financial support for cross-border operations and investigations of Member States, inter alia for joint investigation teams
  • supports specialized Union centers established by Europol and other authorities, institutions and other Union entities, and as the case may be, participates therein,
  • cooperates with authorities, institutions and other Union entities and with Union networks established in the area of freedom, security and justice, provided for in Title V of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union
  • supports the activities of Member States in combat against serious forms of crime
  • in the course of performing its objectives, Europjust may request the competent authorities of the Member States concerned, with justification, to:
    • initiate investigation or prosecution of certain crimes
    • agree that one of them is in a better position to conduct investigation or prosecution of certain crimes
    • coordinate the activities between the competent authorities of the Member States concerned
    • establish a joint investigation team in compliance with the applicable mechanisms of cooperation
    • provide Eurojust information necessary to perform its tasks
    • perform special investigative actions
    • adopt any other justified measures for investigation or prosecution

Internal structure of Eurojust:

Eurojust consists of:

  • National Members, whereas each Member State sends their representative to Eurojust, who has a permanent workplace in the seat of Eurojust; each National Member is assisted by a deputy and assistant. In principle, Eurojust exercises operative competences through the National Members.
  • Collegium, which consists of 27 National Members and one representative of the Commission. The Collegium is presided by Chairman and Vice-chairmen (also called President and Vice-presidents). The Collegium is the main governing body of Eurojust.
  • Administrative Director, who is responsible for fulfillment of administrative tasks entrusted to Eurojust

As soon as of 2004, internal division into so called Teams is in place within Eurojust.  The Teams are composed of National Members, their deputies and the competent administrative apparatus. They are responsible for certain topics, to which they public reports and recommendations to the College. There are following Teams: Presidential, Terrorism Countering, Tools of Judicial Cooperation, External Relations, Ilicit Trafficking, Economic Crime, Cybercime, Consultation for Oraganizational Development and Casework and Associated Projects.

Eurojust exercises its competence wither through its National Members or its acts as the College, whereas we need to point out that Eurojust is not competent to adopt decisions binding for Member States, but it is a “mere” coordinating and recommending authority in the area of international cooperation in criminal matters.

Eurojust may also issue a written non-binding opinion in case two or more National Members are unable to agree on resolution of a competence dispute. Eurojust may also issue a non-binding opinion in case of recurring refusals or difficulties with execution of requssts and decisions concerning judicial cooperation. If the competent authorities of Member States do not accept Eurojust’s recommendation, they are obliged to justify their position.

Relationships of Eurojust with third states:

  • may request the competent authorities of concerned Member States to:
    • initiate investigation or prosecution of certain crimes
    • agree that one of them is capable of better conducting investigation or prosecution of certain crimes
    • coordinate the competent authorities of concerned Member States
    • assemble a JIT based on the appropriate cooperation mechanisms
    • provide Eurojust with information necessary to fulfil its tasks
    • adopt special investigation procedures
    • adopt any other measures reasonably justified for conducting investigation or prosecution
  • secures provision of information on investigation and prosecution among the individual Member States
  • secures the best possible coordination of investigation and prosecution
  • coordinates the competent domestic authorities
  • cooperates with the European Judicial Network

Eurojust acting as the College:

  • may, in relation to the forms of crime falling within the competence of Europol, request the competent authorities of the individual Member States to:
    • initiate investigation or prosecution of certain crimes
    • agree that one of them is capable of better conducting investigation or prosecution of certain crimes
    • coordinate the competent authorities of concerned Member States
    • assemble a JIT based on the appropriate cooperation mechanisms
    • provide it with any information necessary to fulfil its tasks
  • secures provision of information on investigation and prosecution among the competent authorities of individual Member States, which it learned about and which may have potential impact at the Union level
  • secures the best possible coordination of investigation and prosecution
  • facilitates improvement of cooperation between authorities of individual Member States, in particular on the basis of Europol analyses
  • cooperates with the European Judicial Network
  • cooperates with Europol
  • secures logistic support [6]

In case two or more National Members cannot agree on how to deal with a competence dispute, Eurojust may, as the College, issue a non-binding written opinion on the case. Eurojust may also issue a non-binding opinion in case of repeated rejections or complications in executing of requests and decisions on judicial cooperation. If the competent authorities do not accept the Eurojust’s recommendation, they are obliged to justify their position.

The last revision of the Decision [7] introduces a so called On-Call Coordination system, which allows around the clock contact between all national representatives in Eurojust. Also, the minimal competences of National Members have been specified, which include, but are not limited to access to information contained in records, if the National Member believes such information is necessary for due fulfilment of his tasks. National Members may turn directly to the competent authorities of their Member States and they should also be entitled to receive, forward, facilitate and provide additional information and perform additional activities in relation to execution of requests for mutual legal assistance. In case of a partial or insufficient execution of a mutual legal assistance request the National Members should be entitled to request the competent authority of their Member State for taking additional steps in order to complete the execution of the request and they should be entitled to participate on Joint Investigation Teams, including their creation.

With a consent of the competent domestic authority the National Members may draft and execute mutual legal assistance requests and order performance of such steps in their respective Member States that were identified as necessary at coordination meetings organized by Eurojust, and finally they may also authorize and coordinate controlled deliveries in their respective Member States. In urgent cases where they cannot identify or contact the competent domestic authority in time, the National Members are entitled to authorize and coordinate controlled deliveries in their Member State and execute requests and decisions on judicial cooperation in relation to their respective Member States. In case they cannot exercise these competencies on the grounds it would be contrary to constitutional rules or fundamental principles of national criminal justice they should at least be able to present the relevant proposal the competent domestic authority.

The above referred revision of the Decision also substantially extended the scope of the obligation of Member States to supply Eurojust with information on pending criminal proceedings, According to art. 13 of the Decision the competent authorities of Member States are obliged to exchange with Eurojust “all information necessary for fulfilment of its tasks”, which concern in particular information on cases directly related to at least 3 Member States, whereas at least 2 Member States received requests for mutual legal assistance or decisions within the framework of international judicial cooperation in criminal matters, and

  • it concerns a crime, for which the law prescribes a sentence of imprisonment with the upper limit of at least 5 years or a protective measure in duration of at least 5 years, and which consists in the following conduct:
    • trafficking in human beings
    • sexual exploitation of children and child pornography
    • illicit trade in narcotic and psychotropic substances
    • illicit trade with firearms, ammunition and explosives
    • corruption
    • fraud harming the interests of the European Communities in the sense of the Convention of July 26, 1995 on the Protection of Financial Interests of European Communities
    • forgery of Euro currency
    • money laundering
    • attack on an information system, or
  • factual findings imply that the crime was committed by an organized group, or
  • it may have a significant cross-border dimension or impact at the EU level, or may concern also other Member States

Eurojust must be also informed of:

  • creation of a Joint Investigation team and results of its activities
  • cases where parallel criminal proceedings are being conducted against the same person in the Czech Republic and in one or more other Member States or where one can reasonably believe that such case will arise
  • controlled deliveries related to at least three states, at least two of which are Member States
  • repeated rejections or difficulties in the course of execution of requests for international judicial assistance in criminal matters or in securing the execution of decisions sent into another state within the framework of international judicial assistance in criminal matters

This information allows Eurojust to screen its case records (CMS) in order to offer adequate and timely assistance to the competent authorities of Member States in early stages of criminal proceedings. Such information is not provided to Eurojust in case it would imperil material national security interests or safety of persons.

Representation of the Prosecutor General’s Office in Eurojust

As of February 1, 2011, the Minister of Justice has appointed Mgr. Lukáš Starý, a public prosecutor from Karviná, as National Member to Eurojust. The previous National Member JUDr. Pavel Zeman, who was appointed as the Prosecutor General, has resigned to his position in Eurojust with effect as of January 31, 2011. Deputy of National Member is JUDr. Anna Richterová.

Contact address:

Eurojust
Maanweg 174
2516 AB, The Hague
The Netherlands

Tel.: +31 70 412 5000
Fax: + 31 70 412 5005
Email:  info@eurojust.europa.eu
Data mailbox ID of the National Member of the Czech Republic in Eurojust: gn5rgc9

More information available at: http://www.eurojust.europa.eu/


[1] Council Decision of 28 February 2002 setting up Eurojust with a view to reinforcing the fight against serious crime (2002/187/JHA) – Official Journal L 63, 6. 3. 2002, p. 1.

[2] OJ No L 324/2-3, 21. 12. 2000.

[3] Council Decision 2003/659/JHA of 18 June 2003, amending Decision 2002/187/JHA setting up Eurojust with a view to reinforcing the fight against serious crime – Official Journal L  245, 29.9.2003, p. 44—46.

[4] Council Decision 2009/426/JHA of 16 December 2008 on the strengthening of Eurojust and amending Decision 2002/187/JHA setting up Eurojust with a

view to reinforcing the fight against serious crime, Official Journal L 138, 4.6.2009, p. 14—32.

[5] Strategic concept on tackling organised crime – Commission Communication to the Council and the European Parliament of 2 June 2005: Developing a strategic concept on tackling organised crime COM(2005) 232.

[6] Logistic support provided by Eurojust includes e.g. translations, interpreting and organizational assistance at coordination meetings. Eurojust also significantly participates on the project of financing Joint Investigation teams financed by the Commision.

[7] Council Decisions do not have direct effect, they need to be implemented by Member States into their law. Council 2009/426/JHA the strengthening of Eurojust should be implemented by Member States as of 4.6.2011.

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