September 26, 2017

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Eurojust’s fourth Foreign Terrorist Fighters

On 29 June 2017, Ms Michèle Coninsx, President of Eurojust, presented a summary of the main findings of Eurojust’s most recent report on foreign terrorist fighters (FTF) before the LIBE Committee of the European Parliament.

The report, Foreign Terrorist Fighters: Eurojust’s Views on the Phenomenon and the Criminal Justice Response, issued in December 2016, is the fourth of a series initiated in 2013 to annually update EU stakeholders and practitioners on Eurojust’s views on the criminal justice response to the FTF phenomenon, provide an overview of legislative developments in the Member States in the field of counter-terrorism, and make recommendations to reinforce the effectiveness of investigations, prosecutions and judicial cooperation with support from Eurojust.

Eurojust’s FTF reports have limited distribution, and their primary intended recipients are practitioners specialised in countering terrorism.

During the hearing, Ms Coninsx and the members of the LIBE Committee discussed the findings of Eurojust’s report and exchanged views on many critical areas of the judicial response to the threat posed by the FTFs, including: the legal and practical difficulties faced by national authorities who seek to use information collected by (national and foreign) intelligence services as evidence in criminal proceedings or for building criminal investigations in terrorism cases; de-radicalisation programmes and alternatives to prosecution and detention as effective measures of prevention and reintegration; the implications of the ever-increasing links between terrorism and serious and organised crime, with particular regard to illicit trafficking of firearms and explosives, illegal immigrant smuggling and document counterfeiting; and the need for financial investigations in foreign terrorist fighters cases to tackle money laundering to effectively disrupt the financing of terrorism.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Ms Coninsx said: ‘The FTF report is one of Eurojust’s main tools to support EU Member States’ authorities in the fight against terrorism, which unfortunately is becoming the “new normal” in our lives. Eurojust works every day, in close contact with national counter-terrorism prosecutors and law enforcement agencies, to help them bring terrorists to justice, dismantle their heinous plans, and protect our fellow European citizens.’

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