I just came across an information notice of an activity organised by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and the European Association of Asylum Law Judges (funded by the European Commission and with the support of UNHCR Regional Representation for Central Europe).
The activity is a conference for European asylum judges, to be organised in Budapest on 13-15 April 2011 and entitled Evidence and Country Information (COI) in the Practice of European Courts. It is specifically catered for around 75 judges from all EU MS, is free of charge and, thanks to the European Refugee Fund will also cover the participants’ costs of accommodation and meals.
Topics covered, also in workshops, include specialised COI units, the European Asylum Curriculum, COI training, COI research, credibility assessment, fact-finding missions, use of COI in return procedures and country experts.
The second item on the programme’s last day (Friday 15th) is ‘The European Asylum Support Office and the Common COI Portal: role, functioning, time-line and relation and possible ways of cooperation with the judiciary’. In this context, I should recall various parts of EASO’s founding Regulation specifying it’s role in COI issues:
Article 4 - EASO to organise, promote and coordinate COI activities such as information gathering, COI reports, COI Portal, common EU COI format and COI analysis/assessment;
Article 6 - EASO to develop asylum training which is to include COI production and use;
Article 9 - EASO to include MS COI resources in planning the nature of emergency deployment measures;
Article 14 - EASO asylum support teams to provide, inter alia, COI support; and
Article 31 - COI reports are included as one of the Executive Director’s responsibilities.
I’ll keep a look-out for documentation from this event. Please do pass on any additional information/documents!