Major crime knows no borders. Pursuing it and mitigating its effects requires overcoming boundaries and establishing coordination systems. The authorities responsible for prosecuting crime, particularly public prosecutors’ offices, are employing investigative techniques based on improved cooperation.
This is the case with Joint Investigation Teams (JITs), which make it possible to overcome the rigidities arising from the successive transmission of acts of cooperation by facilitating the immediate transfer of information. Notably, networks of prosecutors and other judicial authorities allow for horizontal cooperation among their members.
On the immediate future
The challenge lies in the evolution from purely horizontal cooperation systems to coordination systems. In the European Union, Eurojust is responsible for this task by articulating the connection between judicial authorities, usually within the framework of public prosecutors’ offices. In addition, it has the capacity to establish systems of enhanced cooperation with third States, either through the presence of liaison magistrates at its headquarters or through designated contact points. Currently, sixty States have designated points of contact, a quarter of which are from Latin America. As a highlight, the last eight points of contact established have come from this important region.
The recent meeting of Eurojust contact points with Latin America, held in Lima at the initiative of the PAcCTO, is an important milestone. First, by facilitating the preparation of an important document within the framework of the European Union institution, a manual for communication between the contact points with Eurojust. Secondly, it is a step forward in improving trust between the contacts of the main interlocutors in both regions, since many of the contact points are part of the International Legal Cooperation Network of the Ibero-American Association of Public Prosecutors (REDCOOP).
In particular, the meeting was aimed at consolidating common standards on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean in matters of justice, such as the operation of joint investigation teams, among others.
The immediate future of cooperation between the continents involves consolidating the common standards that will enable an effective fight against transnational crime. Of course, it also means strengthening communication between the institutions of justice and consolidating their connection between two continents. And it also involves laying the foundations for the emergence of new coordination structures, also in Latin America.
Antonio Roma, Coordinator of the Cooperation between Justice Systems component of THE PAcCTO