24th Conference of SEEPAG focusing on Protection of the witnesses and of the official members in criminal proceedings

Budapest/ Hungary, 28 – 29 April 2014

The “Protection of the witnesses and of the official members in criminal proceedings” was discussed during the last Conference of SEEPAG, which was held in Budapest on 28 – 29 of April, under Hungarian Chairmanship, with the participation of the General Prosecutor of Hungary.

Mr. Péter Polt, General Prosecutor of Hungary, declared: „We are very honoured to assume the role of the SEEPAG’s Presidency in 2014 and host this conference. In the most recent years SEEPAG has become an important factor in Europe in the field of judicial cooperation. Lots of European and international documents make reference to this organization. SEEPAG could play an important role in this field since we know that the basis of the good judicial cooperation is always good personal relationships.”

Besides SEEPAG Members, Partner’s representatives from Belgium, The Netherlands, United States Department of Justice, European Judicial Network and Eurojust attended the meeting.

Mrs. Snejana Maleeva, SELEC Director for Legal and Internal Affairs, welcomed the participants, thanked the hosts, and informed about the activities and latest developments in SELEC. Among them, Mrs. Maleeva, mentioned the Project on Cross-border Deployment of Undercover Officers and Informants, which resulted into a Manual, a helful instrument for the law enforcement and judicial authorities. Mrs. Maleeva stated that: „The aim of the project was to create an interactive network of respective units in the SELEC Member States providing training exercises and organizing regional workshops that brought together experts in this field. At the end of the project It was agreed that the adopted Manual on Cross-border Deployment of Undercover Officers and Informants to be disseminated among the SEEPAG Members, being available for law enforcement and judicial use only.”

During the two days’ conference, the SEEPAG Members presented their national legislation and practices, procedures and cases related to the important topic of witness protection.

The invited representatives of Belgium, The Netherlands and United States of America had a short introduction regarding their national judicial structure and legislation related to the topic. SELEC Partner’s representatives were invited to the SEEPAG Conference with a view to increase the effectiveness of the common judicial collaboration and to support their work in the field of international cooperation.

The National Member of Hungary to Eurojust was also present during the event, Mr. László Venczl briefed the participants on the newest developments in Eurojust.

The representative of the European Judicial Network, Ms. Ele-Marit Eomois informed the participants about the adoption at the 41st EJN Plenary meeting, in 2013, of the Memorandum on the need for enhancing the collaboration and improving the interconnection between the European Judicial Network and similar judicial cooperation networks in criminal matters, document which includes the cooperation with SEEPAG. Ms. Eomois also presented the benefits offered by the tools contained by the EJN website (the Compedium, the Atlas, Fiches Belges, European Arrest Warrant, a/o).

As  the project came to an end, representatives of the IPA 2010 Project Fight against organised crime and corruption: Strengthening the Prosecutors´ Network present informed about the outcome of the project, including the development of a website offering useful tools for practitioners in the SEE region. It was decided to have the next SEEPAG Conference under the Chairmanship of Mrs. Eszter Mária Köpf, Prosecutor, Head of Department for International and European Affairs, Office of the Prosecutor General of Hungary, in the Autumn of 2014.