The regional Meeting on achieving accurate, comprehensive and standard recording of asset recovery statistics was held in Sarajevo today. The meeting brought together directors of asset management agencies, judges and prosecutors from Montenegro, Serbia, North Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a focus on presenting good practices in accessing adequate data monitoring and recording information on this issue.
The Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative and the AIRE Centre Western Balkans Program, as part of a regional cooperation project aiming to achieve more efficient confiscation and management of criminal assets, supported by the UK Government, brought together experts in more efficient recording and statistics of confiscated assets. “Recognizing what we can do together in the region, how to connect practitioners from the North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, and what the Bosnia and Herzegovina as a host country can present and offer as examples of good practice”, said Nevena Kostic, AIRE Centre’s project manager.
Representatives of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of BiH presented the legislative model governing the generation, collection and distribution of statistics on confiscation of illegally acquired property in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and IT solutions in the judiciary that facilitate the collection and distribution of statistics.
“At the beginning of 2020, the HJPC BiH made the Module for recording confiscated illegally obtained assets available to the courts and prosecutor’s offices. Based on the information recorded in the Module, it is possible to follow the entire procedure of asset confiscation and make an overview of the assets identified by the prosecution and proposed for the confiscation, as well as an overview of assets confiscated by the court. By recording the key information in the execution of the decision on asset confiscation, it is possible to obtain a complete picture of the actual confiscated assets, and establishing a centralized way of recording data by the HJPC BiH their transparency “, said Admir Suljagic, Director of the Secretariat of the HJPC of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Miljko Radisavljevic (Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Serbia), Radmila Dragicevic Dicic, Judge (Supreme Court of Cassation of the Republic of Serbia), Mirjana Lazarova Trajkovska (Supreme Court of the Republic of Northern Macedonia), Milos Soskic (Special Prosecutor’s Office of Montenegro), Lejla Kurtanovic (Sarajevo Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office) – Department for Economic Crime and Corruption) and Melika Murtezic (Cantonal Court in Sarajevo) shared experiences from the region, and the discussion gave rise to new initiatives for cooperation.
“Through the work of the AIRE Center and the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative, with the support of the UK Government, we have recognized how important it is to present IT solutions of the HJPC BiH because they can really be a guide for lasting solutions in other jurisdictions in the region. Confiscation of the illegally acquired property is the most important instrument facing the criminal justice system in the fight against serious forms of organized crime. There are differences in the way jurisdictions across the region regulate this issue, but the challenges are the same. We cannot make a breakthrough without the mutual cooperation of the police, judiciary and other relevant bodies. In that sense, statistics and data management relevant to this area are one of the foundations of that cooperation.”, said the national coordinator of the project for Bosnia and Herzegovina, professor Eldan Mujanovic.
Project Manager, Nevena Kostic announced that in the coming period the Project will pay special attention to communicating the existing practices to the public. She emphasized her conviction that adequate statistics management will demonstrate the extent of confiscation and the effectiveness of management of the confiscated illegally acquired assets.
“It is important to discern the temporary and permanent confiscation of proceeds of crime, temporary measures to ensure confiscation, and special procedures for the confiscation of property.” It is necessary for the public to have a good understanding of what these issues bring to the judiciary, but also to the fight against organized crime in general. It is extremely useful to have practical experts in one place to talk about the challenges and good practices in B&H, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia. The AIRE Center and the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative will continue to organize such gatherings because this is an opportunity to connect regionally and create a framework for joint cooperation”, said Nevena Kostic.