Deployment of a Liaison Prosecutor of Albania at Eurojust – Tangible results of the project work

Deployment of a Liaison Prosecutor of Albania at Eurojust – Tangible results of the project work

The High Council of the Prosecution in Albania decided in December 2020 to command the prosecutor Ms. Fatjona Memçaj to be deployed as liaison prosecutor at the Eurojust office in The Hague for a period of 2 years and 6 months. This decision was based on the proposal made by the General Prosecutor, Mr. Olsian Çela, manifesting commitment of the Albanian prosecution towards an increased cooperation with Eurojust.

“This is an important step towards the integration of the Albanian prosecution in European organizations focused on the fight against organized crime, trafficking, terrorism, economic crime, cybercrime, etc., through increased cooperation, coordination of investigations and rapid exchange of information”, was stated on the website of the General Prosecutor`s Office in Albania.

This is also a great result of the project work in Albania, as the project Countering Serious Crime in the Western Balkans – IPA 2019 builds upon measures of the previous project phases which are visible in the current project – such as capacity development, establishing a closer cooperation with Eurojust and supporting the introduction and implementation of certain data protection related measures in Albania, which are conditional for the signing of the Cooperation Agreement with Eurojust which finally happened in 2019. The project will further support the strengthening of the cooperation between Albania and Eurojust and in particular the implementation of the Cooperation Agreement by providing support to the Albanian Liaison Prosecutor to Eurojust (co-funding of costs for the deployment in The Hague).

Read the full article of the General Prosecutor`s Office in Albania: http://www.pp.gov.al/web/Komandohet_Prokurori_nderlidhes_i_Shqiperise_prane_Eurojust_1518_1.php#.X-oyWUxFw2x

If interested in reading more about the role of a liaison prosecutor, visit the Eurojust website: https://www.eurojust.europa.eu/states-and-partners/third-states/liaison-prosecutors

Photo rights and source: General Prosecutor`s Office in Albania

Flexible technical assistance in the making – first TAF selection round completed

Flexible technical assistance in the making – first TAF selection round completed

The project’s Technical Assistance Facility (TAF) offers flexible support to partner institutions, who apply jointly from at least two Western Balkan countries, submitting operational ideas linked to serious and organised crime as well as to counter terrorism.

During the first submission round which ended in mid-October, partner institutions from the police, Ministry of Justice, Public Prosecution Office and the Committee for Countering Violent Extremism and Counter-Terrorism from four Western Balkan countries made use of the opportunity and submitted six proposals.

The Kosovo* police contributed an especially promising proposal, on preparing investigations on complex drug trafficking cases jointly with Albania and North Macedonia, involving police and prosecution, potentially making use of a JIT. The goal is to strengthen long-term cooperation and coordination on these matters. EU representatives and the project also deemed four other proposals promising. For these, further conceptual work will be done.

Implementation will start as soon as COVID restrictions allow. Based on the lessons learnt and feedback received during this first round, the team is currently revising the TAF process and accompanying materials. We thank all involved for their contributions!

* 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

Project Steering Committees– First round of meetings in 2020 successfully held

Project Steering Committees– First round of meetings in 2020 successfully held

The project Embedded Country Teams (ECTs) have sucessfully organised the first round of the Project Steering Committee meetings. Together with project beneficiaries, relevant local and international projects, the ECTs have presented the project scope and the approach for the upcoming period. Together with our beneficaries we have discussed what we want to achieve, complemented by the views of the local and international stakeholders. To improve our impact, the project Countering Serious Crime in the Western Balkans – IPA 2019, co-funded by the European Commission, the BMZ and the Italian Ministry of Interior, analyzed possible synergies and synchronizing of activities with other projects in the WB6 countries. The participants have expressed a high level of satisfaction in working with the project, describing it as a „unique project with a hands-on approach“.

Why our work matters – the echo in Germany: Members of a criminal call center in Kosovo* arrested with support of our project work

Why our work matters – the echo in Germany: Members of a criminal call center in Kosovo* arrested with support of our project work

In close cooperation with authorities in Kosovo*, other partners and members of the project Countering Serious Crime in the Western Balkans, the criminal police offices in Trier and Dresden have successfully broken up a criminal call center in Kosovo*.The criminal group has probably acted for years in the area of the “false lottery winning promises” and cheated primarily older victims. There is a suspicion that the detainees are responsible for a number of frauds throughout the Federal Republic of Germany and have caused high-volume damage, mainly oriented towards cheating on senior citizens in Germany.

This action was welcomed and echoed in the German media: https://www.polizei.bayern.de/news/presse/aktuell/index.html/321936

https://www.donaukurier.de/nachrichten/bayern/Kriminalitaet-Deutschland-Rheinland-Pfalz-Kosovo-Callcenter-Betrueger-sollen-Senioren-abgezockt-haben;art155371,4718766


* 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.

EU Support to Regional Security of the Western Balkans

EU Support to Regional Security of the Western Balkans

EU Delegations and National Coordinators of the Western Balkans on Counter-Terrorism and Violent Extremism

The Regional Network of National Counter-Terrorism / Countering Violent Extremism Coordinators of the Western Balkan 6 focused during the meeting on 12.11.2020 on questions of resocialisation, rehabilitation and reintegration activities towards returning foreign terrorist fighters and their families. These topics were discussed during the regular meeting of the Network, which is a regional platform chaired by the EU Regional Counterterrorism/ Security advisor and facilitated by the European Union. Together with the local authorities all relevant EU services are participating in the network: EEAS, DG HOME, DG NEAR and the EU CT Coordinator Office. This operational forum meets twice a year with the aim of strengthening the regional exchange and coordinated response on counter-terrorism and violent extremism, closely cooperating with the EU law enforcement agencies. As of 2020, this platform will be supported by the project Countering Serious Crime in the Western Balkans – IPA 2019, which is co-funded by the EU, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Italian Ministry of Interior.

New Resident EU Prosecutor introduced in Tirana

New Resident EU Prosecutor introduced in Tirana

As part of the so-called Embedded Country Teams of the project Countering Serious Crime in the Western Balkans – IPA 2019, experienced EU prosecutors are deployed as advisers in the beneficiary countries, including Albania. When going from the previous project phase into the current one, the previous Resident EU Prosecutor announced her departure from the project. The Countering Serious Crime team is very grateful for all dedication and hard work of the previous Resident EU Prosecutor to Albania. At the same time, the project welcomes the new Resident EU Prosecutor to Albania – started his assignment in the last week of October 2020. Besides having a first meeting with the colleagues from the Embedded Country Team Albania, the Resident EU Prosecutor – accompanied by the legal advisor and one of the members of the Management Team of the project – visited the SPAK (Special Anti-Corruption Structure), Ministry of Justice and General Prosecution Office. At the General Prosecution Office, Prosecutor-General Mr. Olsjan Cela used to opportunity to also introduce the designated Liaison Prosecutor to Eurojust Ms. Fatjona Memcaj. All representatives of the Albanian institutions expressed the wish to have a cooperation with the new Resident EU Prosecutor as fruitful as with his predecessor.

Europol Joint Action Days – 34 countries fighting organised crime

Europol Joint Action Days – 34 countries fighting organised crime

A total of 34 countries teamed up last week to combat organised and serious international crime originating from Southeast Europe as part of joint action days (JAD). The four-day operation supported by Europol was aimed at tackling illegal immigration and the trafficking of firearms and drugs, which are key priorities of the European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats (EMPACT). Countering Serious Crime in the Western Balkans – IPA 2019 project was one of the international partners in this action.

See more on  https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/166-arrested-in-international-crackdown-against-crime-in-southeast-europe

Efficient cooperation with the Public Prosecutor`s Office of North Macedonia

Efficient cooperation with the Public Prosecutor`s Office of North Macedonia

On September 23, the Countering Serious Crime in the Western Balkans – IPA 2019 project team based in North Macedonia met Mr. Ljubomir Joveski, Public Prosecutor of the Republic of North Macedonia to discuss the potentials of future cooperation. The novelties of the current project phase (7.2020-6.2023) were presented to Mr. Joveski, including the possibilities to submit project ideas in response to the Technical Assistance Facility Call for proposals, project’s support to the NMK EUROJUST Liaison Public Prosecutor and project’s intent to enhance the collaboration between the Public Prosecution Offices in the Western Balkan and relevant EU networks. Mr. Joveski warmly welcomed the team and the new project phase while stressing the importance of project support to the work of the PPO office and commending the efficient cooperation undertaken so far. 

State Prosecutor BiH meets project representatives

State Prosecutor BiH meets project representatives

The State Prosecutor of the Prosecution Office BiH, Gordana Tadic, met with representatives of the Project Countering Serious Crime in the Western Balkans – IPA 2019 with the objective to sum up activities and achieved results from the previous phase which was financed by IPA 2017, as well as to plan the future activities in BiH, in cooperation with countries of the Western Balkans and in cooperation with EU institutions and networks of importance for the fight against OC.

The State Prosecutor spoke with the leaving resident EU prosecutor of this project the new resident EU prosecutor, together with the legal advisor for BiH.

The CSCWB – IPA 2019 project is of high importance for the PPO BiH and for the rule of law process, especially for the prosecutors and empoloyees of the Special Devision for OC, economic crime and corruption, which are actively participating in numerous international operations aiming to fight cross-border crime, together with partner institutions from regional countries and the EU.