EUROJUST PRESS RELEASE, 15/7/2009

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Eurojust further financially supports JITs with a European Commission grant Joint Investigation Teams (JITs) will, as of today, be eligible for direct and targeted financial support from Eurojust. This important step ensures, specifically in the current financial climate of budget cuts from which even national police forces have not been spared, that the fight against cross-border crime will not suffer as a result.

Background:
A Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is an investigation team set up on the basis of an agreement between two or more Member States and/or other parties, for a specific purpose and limited duration. Exchange of information can be immediate. JIT members can be present at house searches, interviews, etc. in all jurisdictions covered, helping to overcome language barriers. JITs allow Europol and Eurojust to be involved by providing direct support and assistance, and EU funding is possible.

Eurojust will continue to establish itself as a centre of expertise for JITs, providing guidance, support and assistance, thus ensuring consistent high quality and enabling an adequate assembling and sharing of experiences.

This project, supported by a 95% co-financed grant of approximately € 300 000 from the European Commission under the programme Prevention and Fight against Crime, was envisioned in March 2008. It is now ready to launch and will end in December 2010.

The project specifically addresses the difficulties of ensuring that financial and other organisational constraints do not hinder the establishment and operational needs of a JIT. Additionally, the project addresses the current lack of a central contact point for JITs. A central JIT contact point would assist partnership authorities in identifying and evaluating projects which are suitable for JITs, in advising on Eurojust participation in JITs, in drafting JIT agreements, and in preparing and facilitating applications for JIT funding.

Existing JITs will also be helped by improved access to possible financial assistance, the lack of which may hamper the investigation. Generally, authorities contemplating the creation of a JIT will be able to turn to Eurojust for access and advice on established best practice, with consequent benefits to the efficiency of the investigations conducted.

The involvement of Eurojust at an early stage has been recognised repeatedly as beneficial and the overall project is in line with the new Council Decision on Eurojust. This project specifically provides for the exchange of experiences between the JIT leaders and Eurojust so that lessons can be learned from the practical operations of JITs.

Further information is available on www.eurojust.europa.eu/jitfunding.htm
The President of Eurojust, Mr José Luís Lopes da Mota, commented today:

“I strongly believe that this project will pave the way for an increase in the number and thoroughness of JIT investigations. The current project is the first step in what we hope will be a series of measures to assist the further maturing of this new and powerful instrument.”

For more information:
Joannes THUY
Press Officer & Spokesperson
EUROJUST
Maanweg 174, NL-2516 AB The Hague
The Netherlands
Tel +31 70 412 5508 – Fax +31 70 412 5005
E-mail: jthuy@eurojust.europa.eu

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