JOINT INVESTIGATION TEAMS
Council Framework Decision on joint investigation teams.
Explanatory note on the initiative by the Kingdom of Belgium, the French Republic, the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom for the adoption by the Council of a draft Framework Decision on joint investigation teams.
||Articles 31(a) and 34(2)(b) EU; consultation; unanimity
|Basis of consideration:
||Minister's letter of 4 December and EM of 7 December 2001
|Previous Committee Report:
||None; but see (22620) 11990/01: HC 152-ii (2001-02), paragraph 41 (17 October 2001) and HC 152-vi (2001-02), paragraph 12 (14 November 2001)
|To be discussed in Council:
||December 2001 |
14.1 The aim of the document is to bring
into effect those provisions in the Convention of 29 May 2000
on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters
which deal with joint investigation teams by presenting them as
a Framework Decision. We cleared an earlier version in October,
but asked to see the explanatory note when it was produced.
14.2 The Minister has written to update
us on the situation. He tells us that an explanatory note has
now been written. This and a new version of the text have been
deposited (documents (b) and (a) respectively), together with
an Explanatory Memorandum.
14.3 Document (a) is the latest full text
of the Framework Decision. The key change is that the scope of
the proposal is no longer limited to terrorism and trafficking
in drugs and human beings. It now applies to all crimes, as the
Convention itself does.
14.4 In addition, the first recital of the
document, in relation to closer police co-operation in the European
Union, now includes the words: "while respecting the principles
of human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law on
which the Union is founded and which are common to the Member
States". Otherwise the document is unchanged from the version
we cleared in October.
14.5 Document (b) is the explanatory note
on the draft Framework Decision. It explains that the aim of the
document is to bring into force, ahead of time, Article 13 of
the Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters. For more
detail, the reader is directed to the explanatory report on the
The Government's view
14.6 The Minister tells us:
"The draft Framework Decision...was welcomed
by Justice and Home Affairs Ministers in their Council meeting
in Brussels on 20 September 2001...The Government indicated in
its Explanatory Memorandum of 1 October 2001 that it intended
negotiating the Decision on the basis that, like the corresponding
Article 13 of the Convention, it should apply to all crimes. This
was achievable as is reflected in the revised wording of paragraph
1 of Article 1 of [document (a)]. This will enable joint investigation
teams to investigate organised crime groups across the whole range
of their criminal activities, rather than in relation to a narrower
range of specific offences. The Government also supported the
additional wording in the first recital, on respect for human
14.7 The Minister reminds us that he undertook
to explain how the Framework Decision would be operated in practice.
He is not yet able to do this, but will write again soon. He informs
us that the UK intends applying the provisions well before 1 July
2002 (the stated date for implementation in the document) if there
is an operational need. Other Member States are also prepared
to operate the provisions early.
14.8 On the timetable, the Minister says
that the Belgian Presidency may seek adoption of the proposal
before the end of the month.
14.9 We thank the Minister for keeping
the Committee informed of progress on this proposal, and for depositing
the latest full version of the text. We are also grateful for
his undertaking to let us know how the Framework Decision will
be operated in practice. We clear both documents.
22 OJ No. C 197,12.7.00, p. 1. Back
11990/01; see headnote to this paragraph. Back
No. C 379, 29.12.00, p. 7. Back