Joint Investigation Teams (JITs) are set up by two or more States for specific criminal investigations with a cross border impact and for a limited period of time. This framework allows the competent judicial and law enforcement authorities involved to organise and coordinate their actions jointly and investigate efficiently even in very complex cases such as organised crime activities not bound by any borders.
Although JITs have proven to be one of the most successful tools for cross-border investigations and prosecutions in the EU, practice shows they have been facing several technical difficulties preventing them from gaining the highest possible efficiency. The main difficulties concern secure electronic exchange of information and evidence (including large files), secure electronic communication with other JIT members and JIT participants, such as Eurojust, Europol and the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), as well as a joint daily management of a JIT.
To solve these problems, the Commission has proposed to establish a dedicated IT platform to support the functioning of JITs – the JITs collaboration platform.
On 1 December 2021, the European Commission has adopted several initiatives to digitalise EU justice systems, making them more accessible and effective. The overarching aim of the measures is to make digital communication channeles the default channel in cross-border judicial cases, thus translation one of the priorities set out in last year's Communication on Digitalisation of Justice into action.
The specific objectives of the Commission’s proposal are to:
- Ensure that the members and participants of JITs can more easily share information and evidence collected in the course of the JIT activities.
- Ensure that the members and participants of JITs can more easily and more safely communicate with each other in the context of the JIT activities.
- Facilitate the joint daily management of a JIT, including planning and coordination of parallel activities, enhanced traceability of shared evidence and coordination with third countries, especially where physical meetings are too expansive or time consuming.
The JITs collaboration platform will offer the following key functions:
- secure, untraceable communication stored locally at the devices of the users, including a communication tool offering an instant messaging system, a chat feature, audio/video-conferencing and a function replacing standard emails;
- exchange of information and evidence, including large files, through an upload/download system designed to store the data centrally only for the limited time needed to technically transfer the data. As soon as the data are downloaded by all addresses, it would be automatically deleted from the platform;
- evidence traceability – an advanced logging mechanism logging a trail of who did what and when regarding all evidence shared through the platform, and supporting the need to ensure admissibility of evidence before a court.
The JITs collaboration platform will be accessible to all actors involved in JIT proceedings, i.e. Member States’ representatives fulfilling the role of members of a given JIT, representatives of third countries invited to cooperate in the context of a given JIT, and the competent Union bodies, offices and agencies such as Eurojust, Europol, the European Public Prosecutor’s Office and OLAF.
The design, development, technical management and maintenance of the JIT collaboration platform will be entrusted to the European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (eu-LISA).
Q&A – Digitalisation of cross-border judicial cooperation and access to justice.
Joint Investigation Teams (JITs) collaboration platform
Collaboration platform to support the functioning of Joint Investigation Teams (JITs)