Judicial cooperation is key in the fight against organized crime

Judicial cooperation is key in the fight against organized crime

On September 19, CEDEM organized a national conference “Regional Judicial Cooperation: Achievements and Future Perspectives” at the CenterVille Hotel as part of the “Strengthening Regional Judicial Cooperation through a Multisectoral Approach” project supported by the Southeast European Rule of Law Program of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.

Ms. Vesna Medenica, President of the Supreme Court of Montenegro, reminded that the Progress Report for Montenegro stated that the training of judges and state prosecutors was being conducted, but that it was necessary, as she pointed out, to adopt a training program in the field of judicial cooperation. criminal matters.

“Bearing in mind that the training program within the EUROL 2 project was adopted in April, Montenegro has made significant progress in improving the knowledge of judges and their associates in this area. “Judges and state prosecutors, as pillars of judicial cooperation, must maintain mutual trust in cross-border cases and good will to resolve all challenges that may arise in the process of providing international legal assistance with neighboring countries and EU member states,” Medenica said.

According to her, in order to provide the fastest and widest possible legal assistance in criminal matters, the judiciary contributed to the process of creating a national normative framework with EU member states, through active participation in working bodies.

I emphasize that the judiciary has been proactive in the field of judicial cooperation and timely noted that the application of EU legal instruments in this area will be a special challenge for judges and that their work will increase, which is why we need additional training on legal aid. civil, as well as in the criminal part of cases before the courts “, stated Medenica.

The director of CEDEM, Milena Besic, said that effective international cooperation and mutual legal assistance are a precondition for fast and efficient procedures in complex criminal cases, especially when, as she stated, they have a transnational element.

“It is evident that criminal groups, in their activities, tend to take advantage of differences between the legal systems of different countries, taking advantage of the lack of effective coordination between different state services, and often the fact that some countries are not ready for new cooperation with other countries.” Besic pointed out.

She assessed that Montenegro is facing the task of strengthening the system of international judicial cooperation and contributing to the international system of rule of law in the process of European integration to change its legislative and institutional framework, with the efforts of the Ministry of Justice, Judiciary and State Prosecutor’s Office.

The head of the Council of Europe’s (CoE) Program Office in Montenegro, Angela Longo, reminded that the protection and promotion of human rights are key activities of the CoE, in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights.

“We have a lot of cross-sectoral bodies in Strasbourg that deal with dialogue between countries and improvement on the principles and standards that we promote as the CoE,” Longo said.

As she stated, the Council of Europe believes that strong bodies are important, because their work must be sustainable.

“We want the reforms to be real, to be solid and to help work in the future to strengthen the CoE’s cooperation with other organizations within the country,” Longo said.

She reminded that the Council of Europe is implementing several judicial projects in Montenegro, stating that legal cooperation is a key element for several segments of the organization’s activities.

The head of the Rule of Law Program for Southeast Europe at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS), Hartmut Rank, said the Rule of Law Program aims to speed up the adoption of relevant legal and practical standards.

“We have been based in Bucharest since 2006. Since the beginning of 2006, we have started cooperation with CEDEM, and every year we managed, at least once a year, to come to Podgorica to talk to colleagues, lawyers, at various seminars. This year, we started a new project related to regional judicial cooperation in the Western Balkans. This is the first in a series of events on that topic “, stated Rank.

Načelnica Direkcije za međunarodnu pravnu pomoć Direktorata za međunarodnu pravosudnu saradnju i projekte u Ministarstvu pravde, Snežana Maraš, kazala je da Crna Gora, kao država SE, teži i želi da pristupi EU.

She said that judicial cooperation in the EU, except in criminal proceedings, goes through central communication bodies, “and numerous instruments of the Council of Europe and the EU are envisaged in a way to communicate directly between judicial bodies.”

“The point is in direct cooperation. In order for that cooperation to be valid, it is necessary for it to rely on regulations. It is my view, if we want to reach the standards we strive for, that it is our obligation at this point to work to respect the standards built into our system of domestic law and international treaties, which oblige us to strictly adhere to the obligation to create the habit of we respect the regulations we have committed to, “Maras pointed out.

The President of the Management Board at the Judicial Training and State Prosecutor’s Training Center, Senka Danilović, reminded that the training for international cooperation did not start with the opening of negotiations, but earlier, before 2015.

She explained that the obligation of the Center was, within the Negotiating Chapter 24, to create a complete training program that will relate to cooperation in civil and criminal matters.

“So, last year, through the EUROL project, we started creating a large-scale project that is exclusively dedicated to cooperation in civil and criminal matters. The project started in the way that an expert was hired in January, who was in Montenegro and who had the opportunity to talk to all judges and prosecutors in Montenegro, “said Danilović.

She said that the idea of ​​the Center is to appoint one judge and one state prosecutor from all courts and state prosecutor’s offices who will go through all the trainings, so that, as she explained, they would be a contact point “whenever there is a need to use these instruments”. .

Danilović pointed out that last year, in the trainings organized by the Center, about 1,800 participants participated, this year until July 1, 1,200 participants.

CEDEM project coordinator, Ognjen Markovic, said that the project Strengthening Regional Judicial Cooperation through a Multisectoral Approach was implemented by CEDEM, with the support of the South East European Rule of Law Program KAS.

“The goal of the project is to gather representatives of the judiciary, prosecutor’s office and civil society organizations, which deal with the rule of law, in order to consider new solutions for improving judicial cooperation in criminal matters.” “We are aware of the fact that criminal groups operate outside the borders of one state, so those borders should not be an obstacle to solving this problem,” said Markovic.

He said that there are certain problems in that area, considering that, as he stated, the cooperation between the judiciary and the prosecutor’s office can often be slow and inert, “and on the other hand, criminal groups operating between several countries use advanced technologies. to the problem. “

“Mostly investigative bodies, when they need to find the perpetrators of criminal acts, should look for evidence outside the borders of a certain state,” Markovic added.

Legal expert Milorad Markovic, Judge of the High Court in Podgorica Evica DURUTOVIC, Director of the Legal Department, Monitoring and Research Center (CEMI) Bojan BOZOVIC, Deputy Team Leader of EURoL II (European Union Support to the Rule of Law) Maria Grazia Benedetti, and EU Referral Prosecutor, “IPA 2017 Fight against Serious Crime in the Western Balkans”, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) to the Italian Ministry of the Interior and the Center for International Legal Cooperation (CILC), Silvij Šinkovec, Deputy Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms of Montenegro Above Siniša Bjeković and State Prosecutor for Liaison with the European Judicial Cooperation Unit (EUROJUST) Jelena Đaletić.

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