Representatives of Serbian institutions have met to improve the system for fighting organised crime and corruption.
During the start-up phase of the European project to support Serbia in the area of justice, freedom and security, it was found that Serbian institutions have a high level of preparedness and expertise to deal with the fight against organised crime. However, for offences related to criminal organisations, statistics on criminal investigations and final judicial decisions are still very limited.
This situation, and the need to improve it, has required, as a starting point, a systematic analysis of the legislative framework in which the actors in the criminal prosecution chain (police, judges and prosecutors) play their roles, in order to identify possible weaknesses and to propose feasible operational solutions.
Based on the legislative gaps identified, several roundtable meetings have been held with all Serbian professionals involved in the implementation of the Law in order to discuss the most critical points and identify the best possible solutions, thus fostering local ownership. A number of issues were identified, including the harmonisation of relations between the prosecution and the police or the perspective of restructuring the system for fighting organised crime and corruption.
Ultimately, this activity has sought to bring together all the competencies necessary for an effective investigation of organised crime and corruption while removing any obstacles to direct and complete control of the competent prosecutor’s office over the same entity, thus realising a true judicial investigative agency. Such an agency would involve not only police officers, but also employees of the tax administration, customs, anti-money laundering, banking system, etc.
“The overall objective of the project is to help Serbia meet its obligations under Chapter 24 “Justice, Freedom and Security”, to promote and create the necessary common area of Justice, Freedom and Security, aligned with the EU acquis, in order to eventually become an EU Member State.
The specific objective of the project is to support Serbia in achieving the intermediate benchmarks, in particular those leading to improved capacities to fight serious and organised crime.
The project is implemented by a consortium of Member States including Spain, Italy and Lithuania as key partners. The project plans to provide technical assistance as well as a significant public procurement component.