Cooperation with foreign prosecution offices in criminal matters
Nowadays, crimes cross national borders more frequently, so cooperation with other states has become more essential.
crimes against property,
smuggling of human beings,
trafficking in human beings
show signs of its cross-border nature.
Requests for legal assistance are issued as well as received, by Hungarian prosecution offices.
Requests for legal assistance generally aim
According to European Union (hereinafter referred to as: EU) - law Hungarian prosecution offices are entitled to send legal assistance requests directly to the competent judicial authorities of the other EU Member States. The form of the requests has also been standardised with the European Investigation Order (EIO). The EIO should be executed within 90 days.
Amount of criminal legal aid applications received by prosecutors and criminal legal aid to other states from 2017 to 2019
Legal aid with non-EU countries flows through the Office of Prosecutor General
Amount of criminal legal aid received by the Office of Prosecutor General
from 2017 to 2019
A Prosecution Office also has the option – through the Office of Prosecutor General – to receive criminal proceedings initiated in other countries, or to transfer criminal proceedings initiated in Hungary to another country, if it is the interest of criminal proceedings.
Amount of criminal proceedings received from foreign authorities and transfer to foreign authorities from 2017 to 2019
Hungarian prosecution offices may send complaints directly to the competent prosecution office of the Member State about crimes committed against Hungarian victims abroad by foreign perpetrators, unless the Prosecutor General orders an investigation in Hungary.
Within the EU the surrender of citizens in relation to criminal procedures conducted in another Member State can be requested via the European Arrest Warrant. Outside the EU, extradition provides an opportunity for the same procedure.
The most important international and EU partners of the Hungarian Prosecution Service
EUROJUST - the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation - was founded in 2002. Eurojust has its seat in the Hague, in the Netherlands.
The task of EUROJUST is to help the authorities of the Member States to take joint action against terrorism and other serious and organised crimes affecting two or more EU countries.
Each EU Member State sends a member to the organisation. National members are senior prosecutors, judges with high level experience.
assists the execution of legal assistance requests within the EU,
assists the coordination of cross-border criminal procedures.
EUROJUST also helps:
organizing coordination meetings,
organizing coordination centres.
In coordination meetings, members of investigative authorities, prosecution offices and the judiciary come together to facilitate investigations involving two or more Member States. Travel and accommodation expenses are reimbursed by EUROJUST, which provides interpreters and analyses, as well.
In case of simultaneous investigations in different Member States, it is often beneficial to conduct investigations jointly, therefore, EUROJUST also supports the establishment of joint investigation teams. EUROJUST provides legal, technical and financial support to them.
Coordination centres hold joint action days where participants can share real-time information on simultaneous executions of investigation measures in the Member States.
„In his speech in 2018, Ladislav Hamran, President of Eurojust, emphasized that Hungary is the first member state that provide information on high-profile crimes. Hungary's proactive attitude and commitment to judicial cooperation through EUROJUST is exemplary.”
European Anti-Fraud Office (Office européen de lutte antifraude - OLAF):
As a body of the European Union, OLAF’s task is detecting and investigating misuse of EU funds.
Its jurisdiction includes:
all EU expenditure,
certain EU revenue (customs duties),
investigating serious misconduct by EU staff and institutions.
OLAF’s procedures aim the detection of administrative irregularities, followed by eventual
or judicial recommendations.
Judicial recommendations are made by OLAF if, in its opinion, the suspicion of a criminal offense appears. Based on such judicial recommendation the competent authorities of the concerned Member State decide whether it is necessary to initiate a criminal investigation.
The Hungarian Prosecution Service is continuously cooperating with OLAF. To date, the Hungarian Prosecution Service ordered criminal investigation in each case indicated by a recommendation of OLAF or if the criminal investigation had already been ongoing, the recommendation was evaluated in the course of the criminal procedure.
According to OLAF's 2019 annual report, the Hungarian Prosecution Service filed indictments in 47 % of the cases involving judicial recommendations from OLAF, which is a significantly higher percentage than the average in the European Union (39 %).
The number of the judicial recommendations sent by OLAF has been steadily decreasing during the last years:
ten in 2015 and 2016, respectively,
six in 2017,
four in 2018,
and three recommendations were received in 2019.
Both OLAF and the Hungarian Prosecution Service attach great importance to the efficient exchange of information and co-operation between the organisations, which is also supported by the meetings between the Directors-General of OLAF and the Prosecutor General of Hungary.
EUROPOL is the European Union's law enforcement agency and a body supporting EU cooperation in criminal matters.
In criminal cases of international nature, EUROPOL provides professional and technical assistance to the investigations of the respective Member States. In such cases Europol also provides information, coordination, laboratory operation and technological background support.
INTERPOL assists investigations worldwide, their databases – inter alia on wanted persons, fingerprints, and stolen identity cards – play an important role in international investigations. INTERPOL also provides technical and consulting background support. Through criminal cases, the Hungarian Prosecution Service is also in contact with this organisation based in Lyon, France.
European Judicial Network (EJN)
Within the EU, the network is responsible for facilitating and assisting judicial cooperation in criminal matters. Each member state designates points of contact to share and provide information. A contact person is available within the Hungarian Prosecution Service.