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09 Nov 2011. Last plenary session of the Pilot NJR (Network of Judicial Registers) Project.

On 28 October 2011, Paris hosted the last plenary session of the Pilot NJR (Network of Judicial Registers) Project (hereinafter referred to as NJR Project), where Lithuania was represented by Aistė Raudoniūtė, Chief Specialist at the Criminal Records Information Management Division of the Information Technology and Communications Department.

During the session, representatives of each state – member to the NJR Project – overviewed the current situation in the countries and their efforts to ensure electronic exchange of information on judgements in the future through ECRIS – the European Criminal Records Information System. Since this was the last plenary session devoted to the NJR Project, it was highly focused on the overview of the project, i.e. from the spring of 2003, when the system based on efficient and accurate exchange of data started operating, to date. The overview provides the number of states, which increases annually (at present there are 16 full-fledged members and 7 states with an observing member status) in appreciation of the benefits to such exchange of information, figures on increased flows of outgoing and incoming information and statistics.

The Republic of France, as the chairing country for this plenary session, presented its national register of criminal records founded in 1982 and the register where data of persons who committed sexual and violent crimes are controlled, including data required for personal identification, addresses of criminals (which must be checked on an annual basis, twice per year or monthly in view of the severity of committed crime) as well as information concerning the specific judgement adopted for a sexual crime.

Representatives from the UK introduced the ESP (ECRIS Support Programme), which, in principle, is aimed at providing full assistance to the Member States facing challenges while implementing the ECRIS project in their countries. Represented by the Information Technology and Communications Department, Lithuania together with Latvia, Estonia and France is one of the partners to this project initiated by the United Kingdom that helps identify measures to implement the ESP project. The delegates from the participating countries of the conference were pleased with the newly initiated project, which in the future should come in handy when addressing both legal and technical problems. “A problem of one EU Member State is not its own business – all Member States should not be indifferent as their common objective is joint efforts to overcome the challenges that arise,” representative of the European Commission Jaime Lopez-Loosvelt said.

With the ECRIS deadlines approaching and intensive preparatory work, the Member States have admitted that they are more focused on the ECRIS project rather than on the Pilot NJR Project, which is coming to an end. In their presentation representatives of the Republic of Poland, which holds presidency of the Council of the European Union, claimed that ECRIS will bring new knowledge, will be new practice for all EU Member States and will solve the NJR challenges.

The Pilot NJR Project implementation period featured 56 meetings in 14 different countries: 17 meetings of technical working parties, 21 meeting of legal working parties and 18 NJR plenary sessions. In conclusion of the last plenary session, initiators of the Pilot “Network of Judicial Registers” project, the German representatives, once again expressed gratitude to everyone for proactive involvement in the project, for the common contribution and for the results achieved.