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CSCWB supports a joint regional operation on the border between North Macedonia and Serbia

In the period between the 27th of March and the 4th of April 2023, the project Countering Serious Crime in the Western Balkans supported a Joint Operation, codenamed “ARTEFAKT”. The operation took place on the Border Crossing Point Tabanovce, the road sections towards the Republic of Serbia, as well as the green border area and the archaeological sites in the vicinity of the border with the Republic of Serbia. This activity was supported in the framework of the Technical Assistance Facility of the CSCWB project. 

The main goal of the Operation was the detection of illicit trafficking of cultural goods (ITCG). However, the operation also targeted the detection of other cross-border criminal activities, such as forged and falsified documents, weapon smuggling, drug smuggling, smuggling of migrants, trafficking of human beings etc. More about this operation and its results can be found here: 

This regional endeavor brought together law enforcement officers (police and customs) from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia, as well as North Macedonia as host country. Top-notch equipment (such as drones and Schengen bus) was used to detect and counter illegal criminal activities on the border and surrounding region. 

This was the first regional joint operation in the Western Balkan region dedicated to countering ITCG initiated by the countries in the region and hosted by North Macedonia. This thematic common border operation was specifically aimed at enhancing knowledge of law enforcement officers to recognise and tackle the ITCG while at the same providing a unique operational experience and possibility for exchange of expertise, experience and building of new partnerships.  

While illicit trafficking of cultural goods is one of the most common forms of illicit trade, it is also one that is least explored, visible, and recognised. In addition to damaging the cultural identity and heritage of a nation and state, it is also connected to other types of serious crime, such as terrorism, money laundering, and drug trafficking. CSCWB remains devoted to support the fight against this and all other forms of organized crime in the WB region.