Europol’s assistance is essential in investigating war crimes and preventing impunity
Press release, 26 October 2022
Jonas Jarutis, Deputy Speaker of the Seimas and Member of the Committees on European Affairs and on National Security and Defence, together with Giedrius Surplys, Deputy Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Member of the Committee on European Affairs, represented the Seimas at the meeting of the Europol Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group (JPSG) in the European Parliament in Brussels on 24–25 October 2022.
The security situation after the onset of the war in Ukraine and the role and cooperation of Europol in this regard were among the most important matters on the agenda.
Mr Surplys stressed that Russia was engaged in what was de facto terrorism against Ukraine. ‘I hope that Russia will be listed as a state sponsor of terrorism one day,’ Mr Surplys said and asked how Europol could help gather evidence of crimes to prevent criminals from escaping punishment.
In response to the statement of Mr Surplys, Catherine De Bolle, Executive Director of Europol, underlined that Europol had fundamentally changed its business model and recruited experts in Ukraine’s neighbouring countries to effectively monitor the situation aggravated by cyberattacks, human trafficking and other threats posed by Russia.
Ylva Johansson, Member of the European Commission in charge of home affairs, pointed out that Ukraine was providing Europol with information on war crimes committed by Russia, thus contributing in a targeted manner to the efforts to detect all war crimes. Other officials present at the meeting assured the participants that Europol had already gathered a lot of evidence that could be used.
Photo by Simona jankauskaitė, Office of the Seimas
Mr Surplys reminded the participants of the sustained Belarusian hybrid attack launched against Lithuania back in 2021. He thanked Europol for its expert support on the matter and made note of Lithuania’s decision to stop issuing visas to Russian citizens after Russia announced the mobilisation of its citizens for the war against Ukraine.
Mr Jarutis, in his turn, said that Lithuania would soon have one of the best protected external borders in the EU and thanked the European Commission for funding the border protection effort. According to Mr Jarutis, Russia’s escalation poses a threat to our values and to Europe itself. ‘We must continue demonstrating unity in countering Russian aggression and responding to the various internal and external security challenges it poses,’ he said. ‘There is a need for a strong and unified EU position on people fleeing Russian military mobilisation. The fight against Russian propaganda and disinformation must remain an important part of the EU’s response to Russian aggression against Ukraine. We believe in Ukraine’s inevitable victory against Russia’s occupying forces; we believe in a stronger and safer Europe.’
The procedure for the joint parliamentary scrutiny on Europol is laid down in Regulation (EU) 2016/794 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2016 on the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol). The Europol Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group (JPSG) was established at the Conference of the Speakers of European Union Parliaments on 23–24 April 2017.
This was the eleventh meeting of the JPSG. The Group brings together delegates from all EU national Parliaments and the European Parliament.
Rūta Bunevičiūtė, Permanent Representative of the Seimas to the European Union,
e-mail: [email protected]
Simona Jankauskaitė, Advisor, Office of the Seimas Committee on European Affairs,
tel. +370 5 239 6847