The Hague, 07 July 2008
On 2 July, a co-ordination meeting took place at Eurojust in connection with two French cybercrime cases. The fraud, with hundreds of victims, was committed by means of an online auction website. The countries involved were Romania, UK, Italy and the USA.
Prosecutors and investigators from all the involved European countries attended this co-ordination meeting at Eurojust. The US delegation, consisting of three prosecutors from the Office of International Affairs in Washington, DC, exchanged information (at 7:00 Washington time) with the other participants via the Eurojust video conference system, with simultaneous interpretation into English and French.
This was the first video conference with real-time interpretation in the European Union judicial area. The meeting was a success both technically and operationally.
The technical side was very complicated and required a great deal of creativity. Non-compatible video conference systems (ISDN and IP) had to be combined. The current cost of a video conference is one Euro per minute. This cost savings, compared to that of traditional in-person meetings, will certainly enhance its attractiveness and increase its use. At Eurojust, the video conference system is integrated into the network and also can be used from individual offices. More work will be done on the installation so that additional languages can be accommodated.
The French Deputy National Member, Mr Alain Grellet, afterwards commented:
“The fact that we can organise a video conference using this system improves tremendously the performance of Eurojust in its role of judicial co-operation body. It will be possible to host meetings not only with investigators and prosecutors present at Eurojust, but for example also from far away third countries, who cannot always make the journey to The Hague. In this case, we had a traditional co-ordination meeting with participants from the Member States; in the afternoon we were joined by the US prosecutors via video conference. In the space of a few hours, we were able to achieve an intensive co-operation and exchange of information regarding these cases. These facilities open a lot of possibilities, such as co-ordination meetings with Central and South America and Asia. I believe we should use this technique more often in these cases. However, personal contact will always be preferable for intensive working with our colleague investigators and prosecutors.”