One year ago tomorrow, on 25 March 2022, the national authorities of Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine set up of a joint investigation team (JIT) into alleged core international crimes committed in Ukraine. Over the past 12 months, four more countries have joined the JIT, and Eurojust has developed a dedicated support structure that includes the establishment of a centralised database to collect, store and analyse evidence.
On 25 April 2022, one month after the signing of the JIT agreement between the national authorities of Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine, the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) became a participant in the JIT. This is the first time the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC has ever participated in a JIT.
On 3 March 2023, the seven national authorities participating in the JIT signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United States Department of Justice. The objective of the MoU is to enhance coordination between the JIT partner countries and the US authorities in their respective investigations in connection with the war in Ukraine.
Since March 2022, Eurojust has hosted 14 coordination meetings of the JIT and other national authorities who are investigating alleged core international crimes committed in Ukraine. The Agency provides legal, logistical, financial and analytical support to the JIT.
Eurojust strengthened mandate and the Core International Crimes Database
The war in Ukraine is the most documented armed conflict in the history of humankind. One year after the outbreak of the war, there are ongoing investigations in over 20 countries, including 14 EU Member States. With so many different stakeholders involved, the need for a central, secure repository of evidence soon became clear.
Consequently, the EU institutions agreed to extend Eurojust’s mandate. On 1 June 2022, Regulation 2022/838 entered into force, allowing Eurojust to set up a Core International Crimes Database (CICED). CICED is a unique, tailor-made judicial database to preserve, store and analyse evidence of core international crimes. CICED’s centralised approach will support national and international investigations by shedding light not only on individual offences but also on the systemic actions behind them.
More information on the EU’s response to the war and the support provided Ukraine and its people can be found in the General Report on the Activities of the European Union in 2022.
Guidelines for civil society organisations
On 21 September 2022, Eurojust, together with the EU Network for investigation and prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes (‘Genocide Network’) and the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC, published a set of guidelines to assist civil society organisations to collect and preserve information related to international crimes and human rights violations.
The objective of the guidelines is to ensure that any information that is collected can be used as evidence in future prosecutions at the national or international level.
International Centre for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine
On 2 February 2023, the European Commission President Ms Ursula von der Leyen announced the creation of a new International Centre for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine (ICPA). The ICPA will be part of the existing support structure for the JIT at Eurojust, with a specific focus on supporting and enhancing investigations into the crime of aggression.
At the United for Justice Conference held on 3-5 March in Lviv, Ukraine, the seven partner countries decided to amend the JIT agreement to reflect the future role of the ICPA. Details of the implementation are currently being discussed, but the main building blocks are expected to be in place by the summer.
For more information on all the actions taken by Eurojust since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, please consult our dedicated webpage. It includes a Q&A with answers to the most common questions and recordings of press conferences and other related events.