On the 4th and 5th July 2023, the Carabinieri TPC hosted OPFA-CULT’s third workshop on “The importance of JIT and the possible cooperation with private sector” in Rome. Twenty eight participants attended in person while two participants connected online. Participants from 15 Member States attended, while most of the participants belong to specialized units for cultural property crime from 13 Member States (IT, RO, NL, FR, ES, DE, BG, IE, MT, HL, HR, PT and CY). In addition, the workshop was attended by a Liaison Officer from a Partner country (Albania), two EUROJUST staff members, two students as well consortium members.
The first day of the workshop was dedicated to the topic of Joint Investigation Teams (JIT) with two presentations by EUROJUST officers from the JITs Network Secretariat. The presented to the LEA officers the concept of JIT as well some case studies. Later, the second presentation on the EU Network of National Experts on JITs and its Secretariat allowed the participants to understand how to set a JIT, the procedures to initiate one as well as its legal background. The presentation was also very useful to promote LEAs cooperation given that the officers became aware of the funding and exchanges opportunities JITs provide. The first day ended with a social dinner where the participants had the chance to network and exchange on a informal environment.
On the second day, two students of the University of Verona were invited to present the results of their work on “Comparative analysis of EU Member States’ legislation for the protection of cultural heritage”. This study was funded by the Operational Facility put in place by OPFA-CULT. The comparative study and its main output – a table comparing the legislation in each EU Member State – can be an helpful tool to EU LEAs to better conduct their investigations and frame the prosecution according to the legal basis on each country. The last presentation of the workshop was delivered by the Vice-President of Italian Antiquarians Association on the topic “The role of the private sector in combating the illicit trafficking of cultural property”. This last presentation showed the need to ever more dialogue between LEAs and the art market.
To finish the workshop, OPFA-CULT organized a group visit to the Capitoline Museums where the participants had the opportunity to attend a guided visit to some of the museum’s collections. The guided visit was followed by a social lunch, given the participants a final opportunity to network and create contacts that can facilitate their work in future investigations.
OPFA-CULT would like to thank all participants and respective LEAs for their significant contribution and attendance. This third and last workshop highlights the importance for inter-agency cooperation between LEAs as well with judicial authorities in order to more effectively prosecute against cultural property crime in the EU Member States and abroad. The workshop also create awareness of the tools and frameworks the European Union has available to facilitate cooperation among EU Member States authorities. Lastly, we would like to thank the European Commission for funding OPFA-CULT through the Internal Security Fund-Police – which is an EMPACT Operational Action OPC 2.7.