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Regional Workshop on Strengthening Cross-border Co-operation in Addressing Irregular Migration-related Crimes in the Western Balkans, Belgrade, Serbia



This workshop, organized jointly by IOM, OSCE and UNODC, aims at strengthening the co-operation between criminal justice actors and other relevant public and private parties, in addressing irregular migration crimes in the Western Balkans, focusing on the areas of prevention, prosecution, cross-border co-operation and assistance to victims, migrants and refugees.


Push factors such as instability, conflict, rights abuses and weak governance are increasingly compelling people to migrate, whereby on the other hand the regular migration channels and policies are becoming rather limited. Irregular migration often remains the only option for migrants and refugees and thus places a burden on countries of origin, transit and destination, among others due to the nexus to criminal organizations that exploit the vulnerability of those people.

Striving for a broader involvement of different stakeholders to address irregular migration and confront criminals who take advantage of peoples’ need to migrate, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) jointly implemented in 2013 and 2014 a project on “Strengthening cooperation among countries of origin, transit and destination in combating irregular migration and related transnational organized crimes”, which produced key findings and outcomes for future activities and consolidated the existing co-operation framework between the three organizations.

Following the concluding workshop of this project, held in Athens, Greece, on 11-12 June 2014, the Regional Office for South-Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia of the IOM, the Transnational Threats Department of the OSCE and the Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section of the Organized Crime and Illicit Trafficking Branch of the UNODC reaffirmed their joint commitment towards a continued partnership in the area of countering transnational organized crime, especially smuggling of migrants and trafficking in human beings (THB) in the Western Balkans.

Policy-makers and practitioners from relevant bodies will share their views on the recurring challenges they face and innovative good practices identified in addressing irregular migration related crimes.
Expected participants:

  • Criminal court judges dealing with smuggling of migrants and trafficking in human beings cases;
  • Prosecutors dealing with smuggling of migrants and THB cases;
  • Law enforcement officers from different agencies dealing with smuggling of migrants and THB cases;
  • Officials from the Ministry of Finance dealing with anti-money laundering;
  • Officials from the Ministry of Justice dealing with seizure and confiscation of assets;
  • Police liaison officers;
  • Non-governmental organizations dealing with migration and victims of THB cases.

Moreover, criminal justice experts from the IOM, OSCE and UNODC executive structures as well as from other international and regional organizations and representatives of the private sector and academia will expand on their experiences on the topic.

Taking a forward looking perspective, the speakers and participants will be invited to elaborate on several concrete cases related to their fields of expertise. The aim of these discussions will be to explore the strategic outlook for further development of the co-operation between criminal justice actors and other relevant public and private parties in the Western Balkans. The main findings and outcomes of the meeting will be compiled in a set of findings, which will serve as a basis and guidance for further discussions on this topic at the national and regional levels.

A follow up event in the afternoon of the second day of the conference, limited to criminal law practitioners, aims to find operational solutions to practical problems currently affecting investigation, prosecution and adjudication of cross-border cases of irregular migration-related crimes.

During the workshop simultaneous interpretation in English and Serbian will be provided.


Added on
25 Jul 2016
OSCE / Transnational Threats Department / Strategic Police Matters Unit
Experts, Government officials, International organizations, Judges, Law enforcement officers, NGOs, OSCE staff, Prosecutors
Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Turkey
criminal justice system, cross-border crime, economic crime, human trafficking, criminal investigation, illegal immigration, intelligence-led policing