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Joint investigation teams

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Joint investigation teams

 

SUMMARY OF:

Council Framework Decision 2002/465/JHA on joint investigation teams

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE FRAMEWORK DECISION?

It sets out the rules for the setting up and functioning of joint investigation teams (JITs). The rationale is that certain types of crime within the European Union (EU) can be more effectively investigated by JITs set up for a fixed period following an agreement between EU countries.

KEY POINTS

  • The framework decision was a response to a meeting of EU countries in 1999 which called for such teams to be set up without delay to combat drug and human trafficking, as well as terrorism.
  • The Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters adopted in May 2000 provides for the setting up of JITs. However, because of the slow rate of ratification, this framework decision was adopted with implementation to be completed by 1 January 2003. The framework decision will cease to have effect, once the convention has entered into force in all EU countries.
  • Where a criminal investigation within the EU requires coordinated and concerted action, at least two EU countries may set up a JIT. To that end, the competent authorities of the relevant EU countries enter into an agreement determining the procedures to be followed by the team. The joint team must be set up for:
    • a specific purpose; and
    • a limited period (which may be renewed with the agreement of all the parties involved).
  • The EU countries that set up the team decide on its composition, purpose and duration. The team is led by a person from one of the EU countries in which the investigation is taking place. They may also allow representatives of Europol, Eurojust, OLAF and representatives of non-EU countries to take part in the team’s activities. All members of the team must carry out their duties within the laws of the country in which they are operating.
  • JITs may also be set up with and between countries outside the EU provided that a legal basis, such as an international agreement or national legislation, exists.
  • On 1 December 2014, the United Kingdom notified the European Commission that it wished to participate in the framework decision. This was confirmed by Commission Decision 2014/858/EU. On 11 March 2016, Italy notified the Commission that it had incorporated the framework decision in its national law. This means that all EU countries now have an EU legal basis on which to set up joint investigation teams.

FROM WHEN DOES THE FRAMEWORK DECISION APPLY?

It has applied since 20 June 2002. EU countries had to incorporate it into their national law by 1 January 2003.

BACKGROUND

  • In July 2005, the network of national experts on joint investigation teams (JITs network) was established to implement the ‘Hague Programme’ and its commitment that each EU country should designate a national expert ‘with a view to encouraging the use of JITs and exchanging experience on best practice’ (Council document 11037/05).
  • Since 2005, the JITs network has met once each year and since mid-January 2011, the JITs network has a secretariat — hosted by Eurojust — that promotes the activities of the JITs network and supports the national experts in their work. In that view, since 2012, the JITs network secretariat has supported the development of a form designed to assist practitioners in assessing the performance of JITs, including the results achieved, the legal issues and practical difficulties encountered. A first version of the JIT evaluation form was developed and made available to JIT practitioners in April 2014.
  • The steadily increasing number of joint investigation teams set up every year demonstrates that they are key tools that enable investigations to be coordinated and that they increase mutual trust among EU law enforcement and judicial authorities.
  • For more information see:

MAIN DOCUMENT

Council Framework Decision 2002/465/JHA of 13 June 2002 on joint investigation teams (OJ L 162, 20.6.2002, pp. 1-3)

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Commission Decision 2014/858/EU of 1 December 2014 on the notification by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland of its wish to participate in acts of the Union in the field of police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters adopted before the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon and which are not part of the Schengen acquis (OJ L 345, 1.12.2014, pp. 6-9)

last update 12.01.2017

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