A common operations exercise, codename “BIH 2019”, took place in various locations in Bosnia from 20 – 28 June 2019. Officers from 7 countries, supported by representatives of European Agencies (Europol, Frontex) and international organisations (DCAF, IOM) took part in the operations. They focused on detecting illegal crossings of state border and conducting interviews with migrants, with the aim to obtain and exchange information on serious and organised crime that has accompanied the enhanced migratory flow.

The officers were able to conduct debriefing interviews with the migrants in the migrant centres in Bihać (Bira, Sedra, Boriči) and Miral in Velika Kladuša, and also with migrants that were apprehended in Trebinje. This information revealed a large amount of information about the migrants. So much so that Europol based one of their supported operations, entitled “Monika”, on the information acquired during the activities. As a result, an entire migrant smuggling network was dismantled. You can read more about the arrests (in Montenegrin) at RTCG or CDM.

In addition to information gathering, the BIH 2019 exercise also managed to establish a good system of exchanging and checking information with the Europol database. This has improved the cooperation between Bosnia and Europol in detecting ongoing criminal operations and criminal frameworks.

The operation, implemented by the Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF), is jointly financed by the European Union and the Federal Republic of Germany on the basis of a grant agreement with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GmbH) within the IPA/2017 Countering Serious Crime in the Western Balkans Project.