In a bid to hold Russia accountable for war atrocities in Ukraine, the European Commission wants to equip the EU judicial agency with tools to collect and protect evidence of crimes.
The EU executive proposed on Monday to modify the mandate of the Eurojust agency, which coordinates European investigations and prosecutions of transnational crimes, in order to create a central storage of evidence of possible abuses for national and international authorities as well as NGO.
Such changes to the law would, according to the Commission, allow Eurojust to retain evidence for longer periods. The agency could also cooperate directly with the International Criminal Court (ICC) to analyze and exchange information.
“We need to strengthen Eurojust to ensure it has the tools to deal with the scale of the atrocities in Ukraine,” said Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová.
“Those responsible for war crimes in Ukraine must be held accountable,” added Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders.
The agency could also process digital information such as videos, audio recordings and satellite images. The Commission said the sharing of evidence would comply with EU data protection rules, the General Data Protection Regulation.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has opened an investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine; Eurojust assisted a joint investigation team.
The Parliament and the Council will now examine the Commission’s proposal.
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