SELEC and the CSC WB project: Strengthening Operational and Analytical Capacities of the WB

SELEC and the CSC WB project: Strengthening Operational and Analytical Capacities of the WB

In the context of the Letter of Intent concluded between SELEC and the project Countering Serious Crime in Western Balkans – IPA 2019 (CSC WB), on 22 April 2021, the Management of SELEC hosted a working visit of Ms. Anna Marinelli, Team Leader and Mr.Claudio Schettini from the Coordination Presidium of the CSC WB.

As both SELEC and the project are supporting law enforcement organizations in the Western Balkans in the fight against trans-border serious and organized crime, the main aim of this joint cooperation is to strengthen both the operational and analytical capacities of the Western Balkans.

The meeting focused on discussions regarding the cooperation in the framework of the project, in particular, on the steps to be taken for initiating the preparation of the Organised Crime Threat Assessment.

SELEC, with the support of its Member States, elaborates the most comprehensive analytical product, i.e. the Organized Crime Threat Assessment for South East Europe (OCTA SEE), the last one being published in 2018.

Photo Source: IMoI

North Macedonia adopts new Law on International Legal Cooperation

North Macedonia adopts new Law on International Legal Cooperation

The North Macedonian Parliament adopted on April 2nd 2021 the new Law on International Legal Cooperation in Criminal Matters prepared by the Ministry of Justice and supported by the project CSC WB.

During the previous phases, the CSC WB project provided support to the Ministry of Justice in preparation of the Law by providing expert and organizational support to the drafting process and fostering an exchange of experience with the EU and relevant Member States.

To that aim, the project facilitated the efforts of an inter-institutional expert group comprised of prominent national prosecutors, judges and law enforcement practitioners coordinated by competent law professors and representatives of the Ministry of Justice.

Furthermore, the experts from the Ministry of Justice visited their peers in Slovenia in order to gain deeper understanding of the standards of international legal cooperation applied in an EU Member State. As a result, the new Law inter alia spells out the cooperation of the country with Eurojust and the European Judicial Network while also defining the establishment and work of the national Asset Recovery Office in line with EU standards.

Mission to Kosovo*: Supporting the beneficiaries in exploiting international police cooperation tools

Mission to Kosovo*: Supporting the beneficiaries in exploiting international police cooperation tools

The CSC WB Project Manager from the Italian Ministry of Interior, Mr. Carlo Verdiglione met the Kosovar Minister of Interior and Public Administration, Mr. Xhelal Svecla and the General Director of the Kosovo* Police, Mr. Samedin Mehmeti in Pristina yesterday. He was accompanied by the Ambassador of Italy to Kosovo*, M.r Nicola Orlando, and the Resident EU Police Officer in Pristina, Mr. Giovanni Mastrolorito.

The Ambassador of Italy to Kosovo*, Mr. Nicola Orlando, highlighted the importance of the project CSC WB stressing that “It also confirms the Italian commitment to strengthening the Kosovo* crime-fighting institutions, thus promoting the country’s path toward integration in the European Union. Italy remains a key partner of Kosovo* in this field and we look forward to the implementation of this project.”

In the friendly and fruitful meetings, Mr. Verdiglione updated the Kosovar counterparts on the progress in the project implementation. “This is a regional project that benefits Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo*, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia”, said Mr. Verdiglione. “The project supports, inter alia, the Kosovo* police forces in carrying out operational activities aimed at combating organized crime. It is also promoting Kosovo’s* participation in EU cooperation mechanisms, such as the European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats”. Mr. Verdiglione stressed that the project’s approach is to support the beneficiaries in exploiting international police cooperation tools.

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.

Photo source: IMoI

International action against criminal trading platforms

International action against criminal trading platforms

18 suspects were arrested in Kosovo*, as reported by the Prosecutor General’s Office in Bamberg, Germany. The investigators seized seven vehicles, approximately 160,000 EUR cash and several accounts with approximately 700,000 EUR. (Source: https://www.nordbayern.de/region/millionenbetrug-im-internet-polizei-nimmt-18-kriminelle-fest-1.10976050)

Call center employees in Kosovo* are accused of having participated in fraudulent online investment platforms known as “Cybertrading”. They acted as brokers and as part of an organized criminal group that has formed with the aim of committing serious criminal offenses in order to obtain significant financial benefits.

The project Countering serious Crime in the Western Balkans – IPA 2019 (CSC WB) supports the Special Prosecution Office of Kosovo* in a comprehensive criminal proceeding against this criminal group. The Prosecutor General’s Office in Bamberg has contacted the Resident EU Prosecutor as a member of the Embedded Country Team of the project in Kosovo* given a previously successful cooperation with the Public Prosecution Office Dresden (we reported here https://bit.ly/3wKVg5Y) and requested him to assist in order to prepare and coordinate further cross-border investigations.

Through the project CSC WB the contact between the Prosecutor of the Special Prosecution Office in Kosovo* and the Prosecutor of the Prosecutor General’s Office Bamberg was established. A strategy was commonly defined to carry out common investigations and to set a date for an action day in Kosovo*. The role of the Resident EU Prosecutor was multilayered in setting up the action by opening a parallel investigation (mirror proceeding) in Kosovo* and, among others, in initiating a request coming from German colleagues in international legal assistance.

In total two prosecutors from the Prosecutor General’s Office in Bamberg, ten German police investigators and around 240 investigators from the Kosovo* Police participated in the investigative measures in Kosovo*.

Police and Special Prosecution Office in Kosovo* will start to examine the evidence. Depending on further findings the circle of suspects might be extended, as well as the number of criminal acts.

German media reports:

https://www.sueddeutsche.de/wirtschaft/cybercrime-trading-razzia-betrug-kosovo-1.5253656

https://www.faz.net/aktuell/wirtschaft/razzia-im-kosovo-18-festnahmen-nach-millionenbetrug-im-internet-17279879.html


* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.

Internationally wanted fugitive arrested in Hamburg

Internationally wanted fugitive arrested in Hamburg

The project Countering Serious Crime in the Western Balkans – IPA 2019 (CSC WB) supported two North Macedonian police officers in Hamburg, Germany, where led by local police forces, a North Macedonian fugitive on the run was arrested. The operation is part of the project’s efforts to support Western Balkans law enforcement agencies to fight serious and organised crime, locate and arrest wanted fugitives.

During a carefully planned, coordinated and executed police operation, on 6th April 2021 D. K. was arrested in Hamburg. The arrested fugitive has 8 arrest warrants to his name and more concretely he was being internationally searched for robbery, aggravated theft, document forgery and fraud, for which in total he is sentenced to around 17 years of prison.

The investigators took the possibility to discuss other cases of fugitives of mutual interest, but also to elaborate on best practices and methods of practical/operational work in locating and arresting fugitives on the run.

Building on the successfully supported operative meeting in Germany, the project CSC WB continues to provide valuable support to the North Macedonian beneficiary institutions by promoting the implementation of EU standards in the daily operational work.  

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of North Macedonia has published the news accordingly, mentioning also the support of the CSC WB: https://mvr.gov.mk/vest/15343