Strengthening investigation and prosecution capacity in the Western Balkans countries - Financial investigations as a tool to combat organized crime and corruption
The Centre for Monitoring and Research (CeMI) in cooperation with partners: the Association for Democratic Initiatives of Sarajevo and Transparency Serbia from Serbia, is implementing a project entitled “Strengthening investigation and prosecution capacity in the Western Balkans countries – Financial investigations as a tool to combat organized crime and corruption “.
The overall goal of the project involves a contribution to improving the efficiency of the judicial and executive authorities in the countries of the Western Balkans.
Specific goals of the project are:
- Contribution to improving the operational capacity of prosecutors, judges and police to carry out financial investigations in cases of corruption and organized crime;
- Enhancing cooperation and coordination at the national and regional level between the institutions responsible for conducting financial investigations of the executive organs and related agencies (Tax Administration, Property Administration, etc.).
Project has three main components:
- Evaluation of existing legislation and practice of conducting financial investigations in three regional countries – Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina;
- Organization of programs for training and capacity building of prosecutors, judges and law enforcement officials from the three countries;
- Improving national and regional cooperation in conducting financial investigations with special reference to the exchange of experiences between courts, prosecutors and police from Montenegro and Serbia in the process of EU accession negotiations from Chapters 23 and 24.
In all relevant reports and analyzes that dealt with the assessment of the judicial systems of the countries of the Western Balkans identified one key common problem – insufficient level of awareness, knowledge and experience of prosecutors, judges and police on the mechanisms and techniques of financial investigations which are used in practice. That is why this project was launched to provide additional support to the judiciary and police in conducting financial investigations and prosecution of organized crime and corruption. It is also envisaged through this project, the overall enhancement of cooperation and coordination between relevant institutions and agencies that are responsible for the implementation of financial investigations at national and regional level.
The project envisages the organization of the following activities:
- Three seminars for prosecutors, judges and officials for the implementation of public peace and order, which will be held in Podgorica, Belgrade and Sarajevo. The seminars will present topics related to the general concept of integrated financial investigations, international standards applicable in the field of confiscation of proceeds of crime, but there will also be suggestions of better plan for the establishment of regional and international cooperation in this field;
- The three-day study visit to the Netherlands for twelve representatives of judicial and security institutions from Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The representatives of the judicial and security institutions of Montenegro will visit the relevant institutions responsible for conducting financial investigations in the Netherlands and thus improve their knowledge and practical experience;
- Three meetings of countries who will gather representatives of the prosecution, police and other institutions and agencies (Tax Administration, Administration for prevention of money laundering and financing of terrorism, Property Administration, etc.) to enhance cooperation between the judicial and executive authorities in the implementation of financial investigations on national and regional level;
- Two regional meetings in Podgorica and Belgrade for representatives of the judiciary, prosecution and police of Montenegro and Serbia, to exchange experience on progress in completing the benchmarks from chapters 23 and 24;
- Regional conference in Podgorica during which there will be presentation of three reports with key findings and recommendations for the practice of law and implementation of financial investigations in Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The project is supported by the Royal Netherlands Embassy through the “MATRA” program.