Fight against organised crime and corruption: Strengthening the Prosecutors' Network

Within the framework of the IPA Regional Programme 2010, the European Commission (Directorate-General Enlargement) has provided a € 5.000.000,00 Grant to a consortium consisting of the German Development Cooperation (lead partner; www.giz.de), and the Netherlands Center for International Legal Cooperation (www.cilc.nl) for implementation of  the project ‘Fight against organized crime and corruption: Strengthening the Prosecutor’s Network’ (EuropeAid/130729/ACT/Multi – Proposal No.1). In the implementation of the project the two consortium partners will also closely cooperate with the Netherlands, German and Slovenian Prosecution Service, the International Association of Prosescutors (IAP), as well as EUROJUST and the European Judicial Network in Criminal Matters (both based in the Hague). Additionally through the Prosecutors Office of Slovenia, which is member to the Southeast European Prosecutors Advisory Group (SEEPAG), close cooperation and linkage to the SEEPAG network is secured.

This regional project will cover the region of Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia as well as Kosovo under UNSCR 1244/99) and has a duration of 24 months. The overall objective of the project will be to improve and promote cross-border and international judicial cooperation in the beneficiaries to investigate and prosecute cross border crime, in particular organised crime and corruption. The specific objective will be to strengthen the operational capacity and capabilities of the General/State Prosecutors’ Offices in the beneficiaries to prosecute and investigate cross-border organised crime and linked cases of economic and financial crime and corruption. Estimated results of the project are:

–       Capacity Development of the beneficiaries’ Prosecutorial offices by ongoing advisory services through seconded Prosecutors of EU Member states with regard to investigating and prosecuting cross-border cases of organised crime, economic and financial crime, corruption and terrorism;

–       Increased and institutionalized cross border capacities for joint investigations, collection of evidence and requests for mutual legal assistance;

–       Increased integration of the Beneficiaries in International Networks and fostered cooperation with Eurojust and European Judicial Network.

The estimated results of the project will be achieved among others through the following activities:

–       Selection of Prosecutors from EU Member States to be seconded to Beneficiaries;

–       Regional and national assessments with regard to the needs for further development and regional harmonization of structures and proceedings at General/State Prosecutors Offices, drafting of respective recommendations and assistance with their implementation;

–       Training needs assessment;

–       Provide expert´s input and monitoring with regard to joint operations, exchange of evidences and requests for mutual assistance in selected pilot cross-border cases;

–       Developing of a training methodology and conduct of trainings for cross-border cooperation and investigations;

–       Administrative and logistic support  to the Prosecutors Network, their annual meetings and to further regional conferences on actual developments;

–       Study tours to European Member countries, EJN and Eurojust;

–       Providing advice and support for technical equipment as needed.

To improve the cooperation of the General / State Prosecutors´ offices on the Western Balkans the Prosecutors’ Network has been founded by signing a respective Memorandum of Understanding on 30 March 2005 in Skopje (established in the course of the CARDS 2003 regional project ‘The establishment of an independent, reliable and functioning judiciary and enhancing of the judicial cooperation in the Western Balkans’). A revised MoU for regional cooperation against organised crime and other forms of serious crime, signed on 25 January 2010 in Rome in the frame of the CARDS 2006 regional project ‘Support to the Prosecutors’ Network’, aims at further strengthening international cooperation in fighting cross-border crime through supporting the Western Balkans Prosecutors’ Network and its National Contact Points (NCPs). This cooperation now needs to be deepened.

The project will be supervised and steered by a management board assuring the efficient and coherent implementation of the contributions of the partners and associates with the contribution of the Contracting Authority. On an operational and administrative level the Action’s team shall be headed by the Senior Project Leader, Mr. Henk Marquart Scholtz (senior prosecutor from the Netherlands and former Secretary-General of the International Association of Prosecutors), who has a profound knowledge in project implementation as well as with in depth knowledge and excellent networks in the judicial and criminal sector in Europe. The Senior Project Leader will be supported by a small, but efficient coordination team consisting of the Project Manager Western Balkans (Mr. Thomas Meyer; manager of the GIZ ORF for Legal Reforms), the Project Manager International (Mr. Eric Vincken, Senior Project Manager Europe and Asia of CILC) and a local team. For each of the beneficiaries` countries (except for Kosovo under UNSCR 1244/99 where a prosecutor from EULEX shall be involved) an EU Seconded Public Prosecutor shall be selected. The EU Seconded prosecutors will be accommodated and integrated in the Beneficiaries’ specialised Agencies / Departments responsible for the prosecution and investigation of cross-border crime and other forms of serious crime.