50 kg marijuana seized in North Macedonia

50 kg marijuana seized in North Macedonia

On 10th June near Prilep, North Macedonia in an operative action performed by North Macedonian police officers, a suspected truck with Albanian plates was stopped and searched and as a result two large bags containing 50 packages with approximately 50 kg of the narcotic drug marijuana were discovered and seized. The drug, with final destination being Greece, is reported to be worth around 200.000 euro. The driver of the truck (MAN), an Albanian citizen B.J. (40) was arrested in the occasion, while the truck was also seized by the North Macedonian police. Criminal charges will be further pressed against the driver on the related criminal offences.

The operative action, resulting in seizures and arrests, was supported by CSC WB – IPA 2019 Project, as part of its efforts to foster regional security in the Western Balkans through strengthening the response of the Western Balkans institutions to fight transborder serious organised crime, supporting the respective police services of the beneficiary countries, Republic of North Macedonia and Republic of Albania.

The full report by the North Macedonian police about the action can be found here: https://mvr.gov.mk/vest/16031

Photo source: North Macedonian Police

Joint Operation Targeting Firearms, Explosives and Drugs

Joint Operation Targeting Firearms, Explosives and Drugs

The Administration for Countering Terrorism and Extremism of the Ministry of Interior of Republika Srpska, in cooperation with the Police of the Republic of Austria, and under the supervision of the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH, conducted an operational operation code-named “Cat” due to suspicion that several persons committed the crime of “Organized Crime” in connection with Criminal Offense “Illicit trafficking in weapons and military equipment and dual-use items” and “Illicit trafficking in narcotics”.

One person was arrested in Austria and two locations in Banja Luka were searched, which were used by the suspect. As part of the “Cat” operation, four (4) kilograms of NITROPENT explosives (PENT), 10 meters of sticks, eight pieces of electric detonators and four electric sabotage detonators, a certain amount of the narcotic drug cocaine, a green herbal substance resembling the narcotic drug “marijuana”, pistol and rifle ammunition of various calibers, and other items that can be used as evidence in further criminal proceedings against the suspects.

A report was submitted against three persons to the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH on the above-mentioned criminal offenses.

The Ministry of Interior reported about this action: https://bit.ly/2RZXOx8, stressing also the support of the CSC WB project in its implementation.

 

Photo source: Ministry of Interior of Republika Srpska

Police Cooperation in Fighting Transnational Organized Crime in the SEPCA Region

Police Cooperation in Fighting Transnational Organized Crime in the SEPCA Region

The Southeast Europe Police Chiefs Association (SEPCA) First Annual General Assembly was held within the Presidency of Montenegro. On behalf of the project CSC WB the representatives of the Italian Ministry of Interior took part, upon invitation of the SEPCA Presidency.

During the two days the following was covered in a fruitful exchange and discussion: strengthening the operational cooperation among SEPCA member states, the cooperation of the Association with Austria, Italy, Europol, Interpol, SELEC, PCC SEE, cooperation with other relevant institutions, partners and stakeholders. Also, in relation to the SEPCA Threat assessment, the possibility to support the update of the assessment for the achievements of the respective results has been anticipated.

Mr. Prefetto Vittorio Rizzi, Deputy Chief of Italian Police, underlined that in a moment of a global crisis each important challenge requires a global alliance and the Assembly represents an unique opportunity to foster a fruitful exchange of views in the implementation of future common initiatives.

The project CSC WB stands ready to support the participation of the SEPCA members at operational meetings related to cross-border investigations and for the establishment of a specific Operational Task Forces (OTF) devoted to trigger investigations related to High Value Target – as stressed by Mr. Carlo Verdiglione, project leader on behalf of the Italian Ministry of Interior.

 

Photo source: IMoI

“Awareness”: The Impact of Interoperability on Police Cooperation and Daily Work – May 12th, 2021

“Awareness”: The Impact of Interoperability on Police Cooperation and Daily Work – May 12th, 2021

On May 12th, 2021 from 9 AM to 5 PM the project CSC WB will organise the first of three online workshops on SPOC – Single Point of Contact(s) – and Interoperability, entitled Awareness: The Impact of Interoperability on Police Cooperation and Daily Work.

This workshop is organised in the framework of the project component 7, dealing with interoperability and information exchange aiming to improve the interoperability of databases and information systems among the Western Balkans beneficiary police services and  their systems with relevant EU and INTERPOL systems and databases. It will contribute to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of information-sharing tools by ensuring the implementation of technical processes, standards and tools that allow EU and non-EU information systems to work better together.

Each Western Balkans beneficiary has been invited to designate a representative and possibly a Head of SPOC, who are the key addressees of this workshop, together with other parties involved. The SPOC is defined as a “one stop shop” for all international law enforcement cooperation requests dealt with at national level.

As stressed by Mr. Antonio Montanaro, deputy Project Leader of the CSC WB on behalf of the Italian Ministry of Internal Affairs, this workshop will create an unique opportunity for an in-depth discussion on preventive and enforcement issues of common interest with regard to specific geo-criminal areas. It aims at identifying solutions that can facilitate direct and effective cooperation among the countries. Establishing analysis platforms and targeted task forces, with the support of participating EU agencies and international organisations, is oriented towards tackling current threats from criminal groups exploiting migratory flows of epic proportions, from terrorist groups or profit-driven crime syndicates.

Mr. Carlo Verdiglione, the project leader of CSC WB on behalf ot the Italian Ministry of Internal Affairs added that, in the near future, effectiveness of common security strategies will depend on our ability to renew partnerships in the form of a constructive dialogue, which is one of the objectives of the upcoming workshop.

The workshop flyer and the agenda provide further information about the workhop:

CSC WB_Workshop Awareness Flyer

CSC WB_ Workshop Awareness Agenda

Photo Source: IMoI

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

Technical Assistance Facility now receives proposals on a rolling basis

Technical Assistance Facility now receives proposals on a rolling basis

The Technical Assistance Facility (TAF) is an operational mechanism providing support to Western Balkan security institutions in response to joint proposals related to the fight against serious and organised crime and/or terrorism.

Following the identification of needs and adequate proposals, the TAF can provide support through joint exercises, practice-oriented exchange and networking opportunities, as well as capacity building events. It can facilitate the provision of EU-wide expertise on countering serious and organised crime and/or counter-terrorism through a methodology based on interactive learning by-doing and exchange formats.

All Western Balkans security institutions including law enforcement authorities, with a mandate in “Judiciary and Fundamental Rights and/or Justice, Freedom and Security” (EU Acquis Chapter 23 and/or 24) can apply on a rolling basis, based on five criteria. For more information, please have a look at the updated “Guide to applicants”.

What has recently changed is that it is no longer necessary to submit proposals until a certain deadline. Proposals can now be submitted on a rolling basis.

If you belong to the list of institutions named above and have a proposal in mind, please get in touch with the respective GIZ Legal Advisor, as named in the guide to applicants.

We look forward to hearing from you!