Eurojust President Mr Ladislav Hamran has started the new WB CRIM JUST project for cooperation with and between the six partners in the Western Balkans, with a series of visits to the region.
On his first visit, to Belgrade on Monday 3 and Tuesday 4 October, Mr Hamran discussed the new cooperation with the Serbian Ministers of Justice and Interior and the Republic Public Prosecutor. Today, he travelled to Sarajevo, where he met with the Justice Minister and Acting Chief Prosecutor. Later this year, visits are planned to Albania, Kosovo*, Montenegro and North Macedonia by Eurojust Vice-Presidents Mr Boštjan Škrlec and Ms Margarita Sniutyte-Daugeliene.
Ahead of the visits, Mr Hamran stated:
The Western Balkans region has long been an important ally of Eurojust in the fight against cross-border organised crime. By hosting this project, we are stepping up existing efforts and helping to overcome any remaining hurdles to judicial cooperation amongst the Western Balkan partners and between them and EU Member States. Our aim is to build long-term, structural partnerships that will result in even greater operational results.
The WB CRIM JUST project aims to strengthen cooperation within the Western Balkans and between the region and the EU on fighting serious and organised crime using modern cooperation tools and instruments. Representatives from each Western Balkan partner will be the project’s contact group, identifying and selecting cases which will benefit from coordination. These cases will receive financial support and expert advice from Eurojust to facilitate coordinated parallel investigations and prosecutions, and joint investigation teams.
The four-year project will benefit judicial and law enforcement authorities in the Western Balkans. It will allow for a more effective crackdown on organised crime affecting the Western Balkans and the EU, and ultimately contribute to a safer Europe for the benefit of all citizens. Ahead of its formal launch, planned for early 2023, the President and Vice-Presidents of Eurojust will visit all participating partners this month to liaise with high-level representatives and enable smooth cooperation with all authorities concerned.
In Serbia, meetings were scheduled with Minister of Justice Ms Maja Popović, Minister of the Interior Mr Aleksandar Vulin and Republic Public Prosecutor Ms Zagorka Dolovac. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mr Hamran met, among others, with Minister of Justice Mr Josip Grubeša, Acting Chief Prosecutor Mr Milanko Kajganić and President of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council Mr Halil Lagumdžija.
Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia are four of the ten third countries currently with Liaison Prosecutors based at Eurojust.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.