Cooperation Between Eurojust and Serbia: Taking a Stand Against Organized Crime in the Western Balkan

November 25, 2019

Cooperation Between Eurojust and Serbia: Taking a Stand Against Organized Crime in the Western Balkan

November 25, 2019

Miloš Velimirović

Miloš Velimirović

Partner

Anastasija Milošević

Anastasija Milošević

Associate

On 12 November 2019 in Belgrade, Ministry of Justice signed a cooperation agreement with EUROJUST, an EU agency dealing with judicial co-operation in criminal matters among agencies of the member states. The signing of the agreement took place in Belgrade after Serbia fulfilled the prerequisite by adopting the new Act on personal data protection, which was the final step in complete harmonization with EU regulations and directives. Eurojust has cooperation agreements with 12 countries, 3 of which are Western Balkan countries: Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Albania.

One-way street

Up until the signing of the agreement, Serbia’s cooperation with EUROJUST relied on letter rogatories which were sent from EU member states on a regular basis. The letter rogatories involved Serbia in 143 cases of serious organized crime, including criminal offenses of money laundering, drug trafficking, fraud, as well as crimes against life, limb, and personal freedom. Furthermore, Serbia attended 23 coordination meetings at Eurojust and served as a part of 6 mutual investigation teams in drug trafficking-related cases.

During the period of 2015 until November 2019 Serbia played a major part in sustaining organized crime in the Western Balkan, but without the agreement which would enable mutual support, the results lacked a proportional impact. Taking in consideration multiple facts, such as Serbian citizens’ role in property-related international crimes who, according to European Commission’s report, are the most frequent offenders in this type of crimes specifically in Belgium, France, Germany and Italy, and on the other hand
Serbian citizens being among the most frequent victims of trafficking in the Western Balkans, an agreement was a much-needed instrument in successful combat in the matter.

Liaison prosecutor

A novelty introduced by this agreement is an appointment of a liaison prosecutor in Eurojust. A liaison prosecutor serves as an intermediary between two parties, distributing relevant information about actions and progress from one party to another. Until the agreement, Serbia had an option of appointing a connection point which would send information about relevant cases only to other countries, but the present opportunity widens the scope of notification by allowing Serbia to receive updates as well as other countries involved in an active investigation. Additionally, Serbia will now be able to share personal data and evidence with prosecutors and investigators from all over Europe.

A step closer to the EU

Aside from elevating the protection from transnational organized crime, the signing of the operational agreement inferred a complex and durable activity in regard to Chapter 24 of the EU Acquis and resulted in the fulfillment of one of the interim assessments of the chapter in the negotiation process between Serbia and the EU.

This text is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Should you require any additional information, feel free to contact us.

Contact:

Miloš Velimirović , Partner
milos.velimirovic@sog.rs
+381 63 555156

Anastasija Milošević, Associate
anastasija.milosevic@sog.rs
+381 69 328 28 12

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