19/12/2019 - - EJN
53rd Plenary meeting of the European Judicial Network in Helsinki, Finland, 20-22 November 2019

The meeting gathered around 140 participants: local authorities from Finland, EJN Contact Points from the EU Member States, candidate, associated and third countries, EJN partners, as well as representatives from Eurojust, the European Commission and the General Secretariat of the Council of the EU.

The Finnish Minister of Justice Ms. Anna-Maja Henriksson, and the Prosecutor General Ms. Raija Toiviainen praised the work of the EJN and numbered the important challenges ahead. Prosecutor General underlined that the effective functioning of the EJN requires a high level of trust and an understanding of different legal systems, based on EU values respect of Human Rights and rule of law. She also stressed the importance of ensuring resources to Plenary meetings and to the EJN Regional/National meeting, maintained and supported by EJN Secretariat, for a proper functioning of the EJN in the Member States.

Ms. Laura Codruța Kövesi, in her first official visit as European Chief Prosecutor of the EPPO, among other things highlighted the benefit of working arrangements with the EJN to support investigations and prosecutions.

During the two days EJN plenary meeting the Contact Points were informed on a variety of topics, such as the state of play of the e-evidence initiative for a Regulation on Preservation and Production Orders, Brexit and the Finnish legal and institutional framework for international judicial cooperation in criminal matters.

 

In three parallel workshops, the participants actively discussed:

-     Electronic Evidence: Practitioners concluded that the relations with the US Department of Justice, particularly the nominated contact points, is excellent. However, there is still a need for training and understanding of the US system, as practitioners need to provide appropriate information regarding probable cause in the request for MLA.

They agreed that the Preservation and Production Orders would be beneficial to standardize the procedure and provide more legal certainty and a solid timeframe for obtaining e-evidence.

The EJN will work further on different actions with the aim to facilitate the work of all practitioners in the EU Member States.

- European Arrest Warrant: Various aspects of the application of the EAW were discussed, e.g. regarding the recent and coming judgments of the CJEU on the interpretation of the term “issuing judicial authority”, as well as on detention conditions. The EJN concluded that these judgments have a great impact on the national procedures. In addition, the meeting also addressed questions on the use of EAW in relation to surrendering nationals and residents of the executing Member State in in absentia procedures, proportionality for issuing EAWs for questioning of defendants and the possibility to issue an EIO for hearing a defendant via videoconference in the court session.

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