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MDTF Activities > Report on the Regional Conference of the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Justice – „Regional and Transnational Cooperation in the Fight against Organized Crime in South East Europe: Challenges and Achievements” Belgrade, 29-30 November 2011

Report on the Regional Conference of the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Justice – „Regional and Transnational Cooperation in the Fight against Organized Crime in South East Europe: Challenges and Achievements” Belgrade, 29-30 November 2011

Regional Ministerial Conference „Regional and Transnational Cooperation in the Fight against Organized Crime in South East Europe: Challenges and Achievements” was held in Belgrade on November 29 - 30, 2011. The conference was attended by the ministers of justice, interior and the state prosecutors from the Region and from the European Union countries, ambasadors of the european countries, representatives of independet regulatrory bodies of the Republic of Serbia and representatives of diferent international organizations as well. The conference was divided in several sessions with main topics such as: challenges and achievements of regional cooperation in the fight against organized crime and regional warrant as a new response, next steps in the preparation of the regional warrant of arrest; Regional network judges and Regional Judicial Atlas in criminal matters, regional trends in criminality, direct enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters in combating crime in the Western Balkans (Lugano Convention); evaluation of mutual legal assistance measures within the Region and its challenges in assets recovery. With regards to the Conference effectiveness in achieving the objectives of the MDTF JSS for strengthening regional cooperation in the fields of mutual legal cooperation and assistance, especially in issues pertaining to organized crime and anti-corruption, this Conference was very useful and successful because among the other it was concluded that there is an outstanding need and necessity for continuous promotion of regional cooperation between the conference participants in the fight against organized crime, corruption and other severe forms of crime. Also, promotion of cooperation in the Region shall continue through full implementation of the existing legal framework, its enlargement to all countries from the Region, in accordance with achieved level and improvement, through raising professional, technical and operational capacity of institutions, further elaboration of contemporary forms of cooperation and existing trends and initiatives and thereby continue to build mutual trust between the countries in the Region. At the Opening ceremony President of Serbia Mr. Tadic addressed to participants and noted the significant successes achieved in the fight against organized crime and corruption that ensued as a result of the established institutional capacity, improved coordination of internal and regional intelligence services, police and judicial authorities, so the fight against organized crime was set in the center of all political and operational actions. Also, at the opening the Commissioner for Home Affairs of the European Commission Ms. Malmstrom commended the Republic of Serbia regarding the fight against organized crime and stressed the need for strengthening cooperation between the Government and police and judicial authorities, as well as cooperation between Serbia and EU. She also pointed out that of particular importance is the political will and implementation of the Council of Europe and the UN Conventions. Further, Mr. Dacic, Minister of Interior, noted that the new legal institutes provide more space to the police and judiciary in the fight against organized crime and the Minister of Justice, Ms. Malovic said that after three years of successful struggle and visible results is necessary to continue with continuous fight against organized crime and corruption without influence of daily politics and interest groups. At the Plenary Session Ministers of Interior and Justice of the RS stressed the importance of adoption the new Criminal Procedure Code which introduces a prosecutorial investigation and which will for the criminal offences of organized crime start with the implementation from January 15, 2012. Also, the importance of establishing joint investigation teams was noted as well as the initiative of the MoJ for creation of the Regional arrest warrant as an important instrument for acceleration of extradition proceedings. Representatives of international organizations pointed out that the fight against organized crime is evident priority of all governments in the Region, and that the main challenge is effective prevention and suppression During the working sessions participants agreed on creation of working group that would consist of experts from each interested country of the Western Balkan region for the purpose of continuous monitoring of the regional cooperation, situation analyses and identified difficulties implementation of the existing legal institutes and techniques, as well as permanent consideration of the requirement for introduction of new forms for cooperation promotion based on principles Acquis communautaire including possibility of implementation of the European arrest warrant in form of mutual legal instrument. Also, Participants agreed on creation of regional working group of experts from each interested country of the Western Balkan region with a task to analyze implementation of the existing legal framework, gives proposals for better implementation and provide best solutions within the objectives from the initiative of the Republic of Slovenia in the form of regional multilateral instrument, specially bearing in mind the solutions from the Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters and the new Lugano Convention, with the support of the EU experts. Furthermore participants agreed that it is required to establish cooperation with the European Judicial Network and European Union was invited to consider possibility that all potential candidates for membership to EU are provided with access to the European Judicial Network tools in criminal maters, such as the European Judicial Atlas, or to support creation of exact regional networks and tools. Among the above mentioned conclusions from this Conference it is important to point out that participants agreed on necessity to inform the civil society sector on policy and measures taken for the purpose of the fight against organized crime in the Southeast Europe and to ask for public suport for such policies what will significanmtly contribute to the common goal and further strenghten the cooperation in the field. It is very important to stress that regarding strengthening the regional cooperation in the fight against organized crime (also with regards to the objectives of the MDTF – JSS), during the Conference, Ministry of Justice held bilateral meetings with the Ministries of Justice from Macedonia and Slovenia and signed following agreements:

  1. Agreement between the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia on Mutual Legal Assistance in Civil and Criminal Matters, signed on November 29, 2011;
  2. Agreement between the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia on extradition, signed on November 29, 2011;
  3. Agreement between the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia on mutual enforcement of court decisions in criminal matters, signed on November 29, 2011; and
  4. Agreement between the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Slovenia on the mutual enforcement of judgments in criminal matters, signed on November 30, 2011.