Challenges: Serbia, a key strategic partner in fighting transnational criminal organizations and promoting regional stability, continues to struggle with a moribund economy, violent crime and vandalism, weak institutions, and widespread corruption. As part of its transition to meet European standards, Serbia is currently implementing a new Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), which took effect nationally in October 2013 and introduced a more adversarial judicial process.
Transnational organized criminal networks based in the Balkans and former Soviet Union have a direct impact on the U.S. through criminal activities, some internet based and some through trafficking.
Goals: INL programs aim to strengthen Serbian capacity to investigate, prosecute, and adjudicate organized crime, war crimes, and corruption while providing safeguards for due process and international legal standards. In so doing, the programs help Serbia pursue its goal of accession to the European Union. INL programs provide training and mentoring by experienced advisors on law enforcement techniques, institutional capacity, and substantive and procedural laws.
Accomplishments: INL assistance has contributed to the following successes:
- Adoption and ongoing implementation of key law enforcement legislation, including the 2011 CPC, an asset forfeiture law, and a witness protection statute.
- Introduction of key prosecutorial tools, such as plea bargaining and cooperating witnesses.
- Signing of transfer-of-evidence agreements between Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia in regard to war crimes and organized crimes cases.
- Strengthening the mechanisms to address corruption, particularly among border officials and those engaged in public procurement.
- Development and integration of key police training modules, particularly the Organized Crime Certification and Ethics Courses at the Police Academy, and Undercover Agent Courses used to train selected recruits for the Undercover Unit.
- Development of a criminal information analysis capability of the Operational Analysis Unit, which contributed to a significant improvement in complex crimes investigations. This has been done through training in criminal analytical skills and donation of Operational Analysis Network software/hardware in cooperation with the U.S. European Command (EUCOM).
- Increase of the capacity of the War Crimes Investigative Service to continue investigating war crimes through digitizing, organizing and cataloging thousands of relevant documents through the donated “Zylab” data collection system.
- Preparation of the Manual for Lawyers on Trial Advocacy in Criminal Proceedings.
- Strengthened capacity of lawyers throughout Serbia to effectively represent their clients.