RCC and Regional Initiatives and Task Forces in South East Europe
JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS
There are four regional initiatives and organisations established by the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe (SPSEE): Migration, Asylum and Refugees Regional Initiative (MARRI), Regional Anticorruption Initiative (RAI), Southeast European Cooperative Initiative - Regional Centre for Combating Trans-border Crime (SECI Centre) and Southeast European Prosecutors Advisory Group (SEEPAG). These are fully supported by the RCC Secretariat, together with a subject of private international law, the Southeast Europe Police Chiefs Association (SEPCA), established in 2002 by police directors. There are two regional structures which are not directly connected to the RCC: The Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe Secretariat (PCC-SEE Secretariat), originating from the 2006 multilateral Police Cooperation Convention, and the Western Balkans Prosecutors’ Network, established in 2005 with EU support. Regional organisations have created effective operational mechanisms in fighting trans-border organized crime, common policies and proceedings on police and law enforcement cooperation, implementation of projects on anticorruption and combating illegal migration.
1. Migration, Asylum and Refugee Regional Initiative (MARRI) – Skopje
MARRI is an intergovernmental organisation established in 2004 by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs from six Western Balkans countries. It is financed by members’ contributions and donors. The focus of the organisation is migration management, integrated approach to illegal and legal migration, asylum, border management, visa policies and consular cooperation as well as refugee return. Relations with the RCC are based on 2009 MoU, entrusting RCC to provide political support, facilitate project design and ensure regional coordination with other initiatives. Several actions have been co-organised by MARRI and RCC, such as the 2009 Meeting of the Heads of Consular Sections from SEECP countries.
Members: (6) - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia have their representatives in MARRI Centre, which acts as a hub for consultations, dialogue, training, capacity building, information exchange and other regional activities.
Key partners: Europol, Frontex, ICMPD, IOM, SDC, UNHCR, USAID, SEPCA, SECI Center, RCC Secretariat.
2. Regional Anticorruption Initiative (RAI) – Sarajevo
RAI is an intergovernmental organisation established in 2000 by Ministers of Justice and it currently counts nine members. Its activities are financed by its members and the US State Department through RCC Secretariat. RAI serves as a regional platform through which governments, civil society organisations, aid agencies and international organisations combine their efforts to curb corruption in SEE. RCC provides political support to RAI, as well as acting as facilitator of project implementation, advisor and regional coordinator. A MoU between the two parties was signed in 2009 and a Survey on Justice System Integrity, financed by US State Department, is conducted by RCC, RAI and TI Romania. Through the RCC Secretariat, RAI entered in a strategic partnership with UNODC. In particular, RAI plays an advisory role as an associate in the framework of two EU-funded projects implemented by UNODC: Development of monitoring instruments for judicial and law enforcement institutions in the Western Balkans and Assessment of corruption and crime in the Western Balkans.
Members: (9) – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia and one observer – UNMIK.
Key partners: Council of Europe, ABA ROLI, UNODC, OSCE, OECD, USAID, UNDP, UNODC, TI, SECI Centre, SEPCA and RCC.
3. Southeast European Cooperative Initiative – Regional Centre for Combating Trans-border Crime (SECI Centre – future Southeast European Law Enforcement Centre (SELEC), Bucharest
SECI Centre/SELEC is a law enforcement organisation bringing together police and customs authorities. It is an intergovernmental organisation established under the Agreement and Charter signed in 1999. It is financed by members and USA grants. In December 2009 in Bucharest, the Convention on Southeast European Law Enforcement Centre was signed and SECI will become SELEC after ratification of the Convention by the parliaments of 9 of its members. SECI/SELEC has thirteen member countries and twenty-three observers. Interpol and the World Customs Organisation are permanent (non-resident) advisors to the Centre. An EU-funded project is planned to start in the third quarter of 2010. The aim of the action, which will be implemented by a consortium of EU Member States, is to strengthen the capacity of SECI/SELC to combat trans-border crime (no direct financial support to SECI/SELEC will be provided). Close links and productive cooperation between the Police Cooperation Convention Secretariat and SELEC should be established. The RCC Secretariat ensures political support, facilitates project implementation and coordination with other regional organisations. In 2009, a MoU was signed between SECI Centre and RCC.
Members: (13) countries - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Turkey and Moldova; there are 23 observers - Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, EUBAM, France, Georgia, Germany, Israel, Italia, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Slovakia, Ukraine, UNDP Romania, the UK, UNMIK and USA. Interpol and World Customs Organisation are permanent (non-resident) advisors to the SECI Centre.
Key partners: EU Commission, Europol, Interpol, WCO, OSCE, UNODC, SEPCA, MARRI, RAI, PCC Secretariat, SEEPAG and RCC.
4. Southeast European Prosecutors Advisory Group (SEEPAG) – Bucharest
SEEPAG is a network of Prosecutorial Contact Points (PFP) functioning under the 2003 Declaration and 2005 General Guidelines signed by General Prosecutors from 12 countries, financed mainly by USA through SECI Centre. SEEPAG serves as a regional operational network that facilitates prosecutors’ cooperation and mutual legal assistance. RCC Secretariat supports the increase of SEEPAG competences, as a network of prosecutors able to provide real operational support, legal assistance, advice and guidance to SECI Centre liaisons officers in the investigation of trans-border organised crime. Greater coordination has to be achieved between SEEPAG and the Prosecutors’ Network of the Western Balkans.
Members: (12) - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey.
Key partners: US-Department of Justice, EUROJUST, EJN, UNODC, SECI Center and RCC.
5. Southeast Europe Police Chiefs Association (SEPCA) – Sofia
SEPCA is an organisation of police directors, functioning on the Statute signed in 2007 by 10 police services from 9 states. Its budget is composed of members’ contributions and donations from SDC, DCAF and Liechtenstein. SEPCA’s main objective is to build public security through cooperation of police services, together with citizens and its partner organisations. The Association promotes police transformation into an effective and democratic police service for the benefit of the entire population. Based on the MoU concluded in 2009, RCC coordinates SEPCA’s cooperation with other regional initiatives, organises common activities (such as the Bled Conference on Stolen Vehicles) and promotes SEPCA as a driving force in the field of police reforms.
Members: 10 police services from 9 states - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina-Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina-Republika Srpska, Bulgaria, Croatia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia.
Key partners: Liechtenstein, EU Commission, SECI Centre, Interpol, Europol, OSCE-SPMU, SDC, DCAF, MARRI, RACVIAC, SEESAC and RCC.
6. Women Police Officers Network (WPON)
The Women Police Officers Network in South East Europe (WPON) has emerged from a SEPCA initiative as a network of women police officers from eight states (nine police services) that are working together on networking, career-building and gender equality, raising the awareness on the status of women in police services and supporting gender mainstreaming of policing practice in SEE. UNDP/SEESAC is providing Secretariat functions to WPON through the project Support for Gender Mainstreaming in Policing Practice in South Eastern Europe, which is jointly implemented by UNDP/SEESAC and SEPCA and financially supported by the MFA Norway and UNDP Gender Thematic Trust Fund. Financial support is also provided through SEPCA by the Swiss Development Cooperation.
Members: 9 police services from 8 countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro and Serbia.
Key partners: SEPCA, UNDP/SEESAC, RCC, DCAF, OSCE, IAWP, BAWP, UN Women, MFA Norway, SDC.
7. Secretariat of Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe (PCC-SEE Secretariat) – Ljubljana
The PCC-SEE Secretariat is organizing and monitoring implementation of the treaty-based procedural mechanism on police cooperation in South East Europe adopted by eight countries. The Secretariat is operational since September 2008, hosted by DCAF Ljubljana, and financed by Austria, Slovenia, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and DCAF. It prepares draft agreements and guidelines as well as lobbying for political decisions. Through its work and presence in regional meetings of ministries of interior, the RCC identified and presented the links between procedural provisions of the Convention, SECI/SELEC Centre activities and set up of international law enforcement units in the framework of the EU-funded ILECUs project. The RCC supports and promotes the PCC-SEE concept. The RCC and its partners have begun to explore institutional, financial and legal means to confer regional ownership to the Secretariat.
Members: (8) - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia.
Key partners: DCAF, EU, Austria, Slovenia, SECI Centre, SEPCA and RCC Secretariat.
8. Western Balkans Prosecutors Network
The Prosecutors’ Network of the Western Balkans is a professional network of public prosecutors from 6 countries established in 2005 upon conclusion of the MoU signed by Chief Prosecutors. The Network was reinforced and its scope widened with an amended MoU signed in 2010. The Network functions on the basis of direct contacts between 6 National Contact Points which also serve as judicial contact points in the international law enforcement coordination units - ILECUs. The network is supported by the EU and the Council of Europe. It aims at cooperating closely in repressing, investigating and prosecuting perpetrators of organised crime and all other forms of serious crime, criminal groups and criminal associations. A greater coordination between the Prosecutors' Network and SEEPAG shall be pursued. An assessment shall be carried out with the aim to identify possible solutions to streamline and ensure better cooperation of the two networks.
Members: (6) - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.
Key partners: EU, Council of Europe, UNODC.