Counternarcotics and Law Enforcement Country Program: Serbia
The goal of Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) projects is to harmonize Serbia’s criminal justice system and its law enforcement bodies with Europe’s – i.e., assist Serbia to reform its criminal justice and law enforcement institutions to meet the accession requirements for Serbia to join Euro-Atlantic institutions such as the European Union. The adoption of these norms and standards will consolidate the rule of law in Serbia, which in turn will strengthen its democratic governing institutions, invigorate the private sector, and broadly stabilize the country. Moreover, credible Serbian law enforcement agencies will strengthen U.S. homeland security and minimize the impact of transnational crime on the U.S., including organized crime, war crimes, corruption, narcotics trafficking, and terrorism.
U.S. Program Components
Current INL activities focus on developing independent courts and prosecutors to address corruption, organized crime, and war crimes, besides encouraging broad reform of existing justice sector and law enforcement legislation to meet EU standards. It also focuses on developing capacity of Serbian law enforcement to fight crime and investigate corruption, organized crime, and war crimes.
Justice Sector Assistance: INL justice sector reform projects are multi-year initiatives that provide training and technical assistance on complex issues such as organized crime and war crimes, developing witness protection regimes, and cooperating with neighboring countries’ law enforcement organizations and with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Specific aspects of the program include:
- Developing Serbia’s domestic capacity to investigate, prosecute and adjudicate war crimes and organized crime cases, such as providing witness protection and courtroom assistance for victims and witnesses.
- Providing training on the new Serbian Criminal Procedural Code and Criminal Code, including techniques such as plea bargaining and the leading role of the prosecutor.
- Providing war crime issues training including regional evidence gathering, expert witnesses, direct and cross examination, and enhanced cooperation with the ICTY.
- Providing training on issues related to organized crime such as money laundering, the use of special investigative techniques (e.g., undercover operations, controlled deliveries, and electronic surveillance), and regional cooperation.
U.S. Program Accomplishments
Justice Sector Assistance: During the past fiscal year, INL’s justice sector program in Serbia contributed the expansion of the Regional Witness Protection Cooperation Agreement (originally signed by Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro) to include Bulgaria and Macedonia, and contributed to the signing of Serbia's first bilateral VictimWitness Support Cooperation Agreement between Belgrade District Court and the State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina. INL assistance also contributed to the development of Serbia's first draft laws on: Asset Forfeiture, Public Prosecutors, and the State Council of Prosecutors. It assisted in establishing the specialized Anti-Corruption Departments within the Republic Prosecutor’s Office and four District Offices, and contributed towards the rendering of landmark organized crime, corruption and war crimes judgments and indictments. Examples of the latter include the "Djindjic," "Zemun Gang," "Supreme Court Corruption," "Scorpions" and "Zvornik" judgments; the beginnings of the "Wahhabi” terrorism trial, and the trials in the "Bankruptcy mafia,” "Tobacco mafia," "Suva Reka" and "Lovas" cases. It also included the filing of the "Zrenjanin District Prosecutor Corruption" and "Podujevo" indictments, and, finally, the arrest of two high-profile ICTY fugitives, Stojan Zupljanin and Radovan Karadzic, under the leadership of the War Crimes Prosecutor. Many of the prosecutors and judges in the above-mentioned cases have been trained by and/or have participated in other INL programs.Law Enforcement Assistance: Over the past twenty-four months, INL implemented an Organized Crime Investigator Certification Course, which is now fully sustained by Serbia’s Ministry of the Interior. Additionally, Serbia’s War Crimes Investigation Service (WCIS) working in cooperation with their state security agency has arrested two top-level ICTY War Crimes Indictees.