Serbia has held a forum to exchange experiences in the fight against organised crime between representatives of the Serbian judiciary and prosecutor's office, as well as experts from Spanish institutions
Belgrade has hosted an innovative forum for representatives of the judiciary and prosecution focused on the practical problems of investigating and prosecuting serious crimes in the field of organised crime. In the framework of the European project to support Serbia in the areas of justice, freedom and security, this event has been a fruitful space for the exchange of experiences between representatives of the Serbian judiciary and prosecutors, as well as for sharing knowledge with their Spanish counterparts throughout the forum.
The EU Serbia Report 2022 highlights that, despite the fact that Serbian institutions have some preparedness in the fight against organised crime, the results of criminal prosecutions in this area do not fully reflect the institutional effort. Although new criminal investigations increased in 2021, indictments and first instance convictions decreased, and asset forfeiture cases are limited. Despite these difficulties, it is recognised that the level of understanding and focus of the investigation has improved, pointing to the prospect of future improvement.
In light of this situation, representatives of the judiciary and prosecutors in Serbia, specialised in serious and organised crime, highlight the need for a regular joint forum between members of the judiciary and prosecutors, with the aim of exchanging technical opinions and experiences on the specific challenges of their work. Marta Pizarro Mayo, magistrate and key expert in judicial and prosecutorial matters mobilised by the FIIAPP in the framework of the project, emphasises that this forum is presented as a model to be replicated annually in order to improve work in the face of increasingly complex crimes.
The opening of the event was attended by Supreme Court Judge Bojana Paunović, the Prosecutor of the High Prosecutor’s Office of Serbia, Miljko Radisavljević, and the Prosecutor of the Prosecutor’s Office for the fight against Organised Crime, Dubravka Dmitrović. In addition, recently retired Prosecutor Dragan Često, who has more than a decade of experience in the Office of the Prosecutor for Combating Organised Crime, gave a retrospective of the Office of the Prosecutor for Combating Organised Crime, highlighting the achievements of the 20 years of its existence.
This unprecedented meeting in Serbia was made possible thanks to the efforts of Serbian prosecutors’ offices and courts specialised in the fight against corruption and organised crime, as well as the project team. In addition, the contributions of representatives of the Spanish judiciary and prosecutor’s office, such as Eloy Velasco Núñez, José Ángel Martí Vento, Elena Lorente Pablo and Carlos Almela Vich, have been fundamental to the success of the event.
Following the Forum, it has been agreed to provide continuity to this format, through more specific events, focused on specific technical issues. The next General Forum for Judges and Prosecutors Specialised in the Fight against Organised Crime has been scheduled for autumn 2024.