“Qui n’avance pas, recule!”
The Third CrimEx for EuroMed Justice IV was hosted by the French Ministry of Justice in Paris on 24-26 October.
The purpose of the CrimEx was to hear presentations on the legal and gap analyses of laws, procedures and challenges to international cooperation in the Southern Partner Countries (SPCs) of Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia.
I presented my legal and gap analyses on cybercrime, special investigation techniques, anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism. The legal and gap analyses will provide essential information for the SPCs to update legislation, harmonise procedures and be informed on best practices from the EU and the region. Part of this process of cascading knowledge to SPC practitioners, is to use the legal analyses for the preparation of a regional Handbook.
I introduced the first draft of this International Assistance Handbook, with my colleague Professor Mohamed Badar. The Handbook has practical tools, case studies and commentary to assist Attorneys, Judges, Magistrates and law enforcement in the SPCs with mutual legal assistance and extradition. An essential part of the consultation is for the SPCs to review and digest the format of the Handbook in order that it is fit for purpose for their needs. Whilst this consultation continues, we hope the Handbook will be launched soon!
EuroMed Justice is a pioneering project that is an exemplar of regional cooperation – by advancing mutual trust and improving our understanding of each SPC’s procedures for mutual legal assistance, extradition, asset recovery and counter-terrorism. Further, EuroMed works with the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), EuroJust and the European Judicial Network to ensure there is a collegiate approach and to minimise duplication.
The essential driver of improved international cooperation is communication – and this CrimEx provided lively and informed debate on where the region is working closely together and how to develop as trends and threats change.
As the French saying goes, “Qui n’avance pas, recule!” – in English, “Who does not move forward, recedes”.
There can be no standstill to meet the challenges of international cooperation, only progress by putting the best practice into action and learning from our mistakes. Either one evolves, or remains in the status quo. Being unwilling to change is tantamount to receding – “Expect poison from the standing water,” the English poet William Blake once wrote.
This third CrimEx has ensured that there is no standing still and the evolution continues!