For the last three days I have co-chaired a working group of Romanian, German, Belgian and Italian Prosecutors as part of a project to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Romanian DIICOT (Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism).
The focus has been judicial cooperation in the EU and the development of a practical Handbook to train Romanian prosecutors.
It is interesting to note that many of the experiences shared by practitioners outside of the EU occur in the Member States too. Namely delays, lack of communication, prioritising requests, being tactically aware of how to progress mutual legal assistance, keeping abreast of advances in information communication technology and understanding a Requested States’ procedures and laws. This is despite a plethora of online resources, application of mutual recognition for confiscation and freezing orders, European Investigation Orders, Joint Investigation Teams, EuroJust and European Arrest Warrants. Open discussion on challenges, criticism about processes, keeping resources up to date, awareness raising of how to access information and reviewing practical solutions has been an important part of the methodology to draft the Handbook.
Two more workshops will be held, before presentation of the Handbook in August 2018.