A Regional Conference on the investigation and adjudication of organized crime and corruption, gathering 45 justice sector stakeholders from across the region, as part of the OSCE Regional Trial Monitoring Project, opened on 15 November in Budva, Montenegro.
Participants will discuss common systemic issues in the investigation, prosecution, and adjudication of organized crime and corruption cases. They will focus on sharing best practices, lessons learned and developing solutions to address the identified challenges.
Opening the Conference, Dominique Waag, Head of the OSCE Mission to Montenegro, said to participants that they know better than anyone the challenges in detecting, prosecuting and adjudicating the increasingly sophisticated organized crime with criminal schemes including money laundering and corruption.
“The judiciary’s response must keep pace with the changing dynamics, avoid being stuck in its own mechanics, making sure its response has sufficient deterrence to discourage criminal activity. Accepting trial monitoring is about increasing transparency and independence of the judicial process in the Western Balkans, building confidence in that process and responding to the commitment the OSCE Participating States made back in Copenhagen in 1990,” said Ambassador Waag.
Giulio Venneri, Team leader for Rule of Law and Democracy at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, thanked the OSCE for implementing this very demanding and complex project. He also thanked representatives of the judiciary and prosecutions from across the region for their readiness to engage and contribute to a meaningful stocktaking exercise, based on the initial findings of the interim report delivered by the OSCE monitoring teams.
“If we are in the room with practitioners who genuinely care for their citizens, it is a great opportunity to seize and jointly identify important ways to move forwards the overall efforts for the rule of law. We are here today because ultimately we trust your potentials. This is the most important thing to be flagged today,” said Venneri.
The regional project’s overall goal is to discuss concrete and actionable solutions and to issue recommendations in order to more effectively resolve corruption and organized crime cases in the region. The three-year project (2021-2023) is implemented in close partnership and with the financial support from the European Union.
The project has produced a podcast “The Path to Justice” translated in local languages which can be found here, which highlights the various aspects of the fight against serious organized crime and corruption in the Western Balkans, the role of the justice system in these efforts, and what this means for society throughout the region.