BUCHAREST, June 24th - SECI Regional Center for Combating Transborder Crime organized, together with Southeast European Prosecutors Advisory Group, SEEPAG, a two-day „Workshop on Law Enforcement Cooperation in its Prosecutorial Context”. The meeting was attended by SEEPAG members, public prosecutors and judges from each member states, representatives of observers and partners, such as RCC and U.S. Department of Justice.
“The idea of the meeting is to provide joint understanding on each other’s work methods and procedures. Through recent cases, there was noticed an increase of joint investigations and cooperation between law enforcement agencies in the SEE countries. Also, there is an increase of involvement of judicial bodies in international cooperation. The executive bodies already cooperated, and now the judicial involvement and cooperation is increasing, also”, Gürbüz Bahadir, Director of SECI Center, addressed the audience.
Tsvetomir Yosifov, Public Prosecutor, Bulgarian Supreme Cassation Prosecutor’s Office and SEEPAG Chairman underlined the importance of working together in transborder crime cases: “together with police and customs also prosecutors are involved in cases for combating organized crime and cooperation is very important”.
Important cases solved and coordinated through SECI Center, such as 2007 Operation “Plastenka”, or recently financial frauds investigations, were analyzed as base of the discussions for increasing the level of cooperation amongst law enforcement agencies in the area and prosecutors’ offices.
Ibrahim Gül, Head of Legal/Internal Department of SECI Center discussed about the support the organization offers to its member states’ agencies, while each of the countries’ representatives delivered presentations of the legislation and internal regulations.
The SECI Regional Center for Combating Trans-border Crime, headquartered in Bucharest, Romania, was launched in 2000, and is a unique operational organization in which police and customs liaison officers from 13 member states (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey) work together in direct cooperation, coordinate joint investigations and facilitate information exchange.
Besides the member countries, there are 23 observers, countries and organizations: Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Canada, CARICC, Czech Republic, EUBAM, France, Georgia, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Slovakia, Ukraine, UNODC, UNDP Romania, the United Kingdom, UNMIK, and the United States of America.
Italy and the United States maintain permanent representation at the SECI Center, and Interpol and the World Customs Organization are permanent (non-resident) advisors to the SECI Center.
The Southeast European Prosecutors Advisory Group is an international mechanism of judicial cooperation, formed by the countries of the SEE region with an express intention of facilitating judicial cooperation in significant trans-border crime investigations and cases. This initiative recognizes that as trans-border crime transcends national borders, the strategy for combating it must have regional as well as national dimension. By improving upon the available facilities for mutual legal assistance, the SEEPAG seeks to significantly increase the capacity of individual states to suppress, investigate and prosecute serious trans-bordercrimes.