Following the preparatory meeting of the international joint practical exercise on combating migrant smuggling , the second stage entailing the exercise as a real life operation named “Balkan Summer”, was organized by the Mission in Kosovo from 23-26 September. In this exercise, a group of migrants facilitated by members of a regional criminal organization, commenced their journey from Turkey, passing through Bulgaria, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to Kosovo, wherefrom they were moved further by the smugglers to Montenegro and Albania.
During the exercise all aspects of a ‘live’ international investigation were undertaken, including the judicial procedures enabling the use of all necessary investigation techniques such as interception of communication and GPS surveillance. The exercise was successfully concluded on the night of 26 September, where a simultaneous arrest operation was carried out in all the named locations and 16 suspects were arrested and four victims identified.
In order to co-ordinate the actions of the participating law enforcement agencies during the operation, the staff of Kosovo Police and the Mission in Kosovo jointly co-ordinated the operation control office established at the police premises. The Head of OSCE Mission in Kosovo, Kosovo Police Deputy Director and the Director of Investigations visited the Office during the exercise and expressed mutual appreciation, recognizing the value and the benefit of this joint activity.
Finally, on 20 November the Mission in Kosovowill bring together all stakeholders again for an evaluation meeting, whereby the entire activity will be reviewed and concluded.