The European Union has launched an anti-terrorism register within Eurojust, its judicial cooperation agency, to create a centralised source of judicial information regarding suspects of terrorist offenses.
The initiative, led by Belgium and six other countries, aims to help prosecutors coordinate more actively and identify suspects or networks under investigation in cases that may have cross-border implications.
“To respond to the persistent terrorist threat that concerns the whole of the European territory, strong cooperation between judicial authorities within the European Union and beyond is required,” Eurojust President Ladislav Hamran said at a press conference at the launch of the initiative on September 1.
The data contained in the register will be regularly updated thanks to a simplified system, even if they are limited to the minimum required by several European countries, Hamran said.
European Commissioner for Security Julian King called the register an “important tool” to prosecute European jihadist fighters arrested in Iraq and Syria.
The register will concern “all types of terrorist acts,” according to Eurojust, “including far-right and far-left groups in Europe”.
It is “focused on ongoing judicial proceedings and convictions in the Member States” and “will not duplicate the work of criminal analysis conducted by Europol,” the European agency for cooperation between criminal police.
According to Frédéric Baab of Eurojust, efforts to coordinate the fight against terrorism at European level began only after the Paris attacks in 2015. Before that date, Member States’ intelligence services did not share data, due to distrust concerning the sharing of highly sensitive information.
Following the November 2015 terrorist attacks in France, cross-border links between the suspects were immediately detected. France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands took the initiative to set up a register within Eurojust to collect judicial information on terrorism and criminal networks. All Member States can use the register and are invited to record information about suspects.