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WASHINGTON – The United States and Croatia today signed an Agreement on Preventing and Combating Serious Crime. The agreement was signed on behalf of the United States by Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. On behalf of Croatia, the agreement was signed by Interior Minister Tomislav Karamarko.
The U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Republic of Croatia Ministry of Interior released the following statement:
“This agreement reflects, and further advances, the close collaboration between U.S. and Croatian law enforcement and border security personnel in fighting terrorism and transnational crime. It also provides an opportunity for overall security cooperation between the United States and Croatia as well as avenues in which to explore the possible further strengthening of such cooperation.
“The Agreement on Preventing and Combating Serious Crime provides 21st century tools to fight terrorism and transnational crime, while protecting individual privacy. It reinforces our shared commitment to international cooperation and will help prevent known criminals and terrorists from causing harm to our citizens. It allows for fingerprint matching “hit/no hit” queries between our two nations, pursuant to which law enforcement officials in either country may submit the fingerprint information of a suspected criminal or terrorist to the other country for an immediate determination whether the queried country holds matching fingerprint records, while incorporating important privacy protections. If this initial inquiry results in a match, only then may follow-up inquiries be made through law enforcement or mutual legal assistance channels.
This agreement – which is modeled on the EU’s “Prüm” Agreement – provides for the sharing of important law enforcement information regarding criminal and terrorists, while ensuring that the privacy of citizens is protected.”