At a signing ceremony for legal treaties between the United States and European Union, Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday called attention one of the men behind them, Mark Richard, a 40-year veteran of the department who died in May.
Holder called Richard, who served for 16 attorneys general, “the father of our entire international program.”
The treaties, which increase legal assistance between the U.S. and the EU, are the brainchildren of Richard, EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove and EU Minister Hans Nilsson, Holder said in prepared remarks at the Swedish embassy in Washington. Sweden currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU.
Richard, a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division, spent his last seven years at Justice as Counselor to the EU.
“We also want to assure you that there is not a day goes by that lawyers in the Justice Department don’t say to themselves, ‘What would Mark do in this situation?’” Holder said. “He was an inspiration to all of us and his spirit lives on in the Department. We are thrilled that you are here today as we take the final step to bring these agreements, which Mark worked tirelessly to advance, into force.”
Richard’s wife, Sheila Richard, and their children attended the ceremony.
The treaties bring several new tools to bear on international crime and terrorism, including provisions that allow for joint task forces across national lines and allow the parties to acquire evidence, including testimony, via video conference.
Another agreement permits EU member states to refuse to extradite criminals potentially subject to the death penalty.