HERCEG NOVI – 6-7 December 2018 – EUROL II in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice of Montenegro and IPA 2017 Project on Countering Serious Crime in the Western Balkans / GIZ, organised a two-day Regional Conference on the topic of International Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters.
This is the fourth meeting of this kind in Montenegro, and the second in the form of the Regional Forum on Judicial Cooperation, which put together 40 representatives of the countries of the Region, with the participation of representatives of the above mentioned projects, as well as experts from the European Union and the region, in order to discuss the challenges and opportunities for improving cooperation in criminal matters, with this year’s emphasis on extradition issues and joint investigation teams. During the Conference discussions were held on the European Convention on Extradition, the 60th anniversary of the adoption of which is marked by the Regional Forum and participants discussed the instruments, standards and practices of judicial cooperation: bilateral agreements, European Arrest Warrant, European Public Prosecutor’s Office, as well as the Justice Program of the European Commission to which Montenegro recently joined. Participants were welcomed by Mr. Nikola Saranovic, General Director of the MoJ Directorate for International Judicial Cooperation and Projects who stated “that the judiciaries and ministries of justice of our states are obliged to show the efforts towards the achievement of EU standards. This is 4th meeting of this type and 2nd in the form of a Regional Forum. I hope that the Regional Forum will result in quality recommendations between MS on a bilateral level which means the improvement of bilateral cooperation that is also important for the negotiating process”.
“The newest Non-paper on the state of play regarding Chapter 23 and 24 for Montenegro, from November this year, stated that there was progress in the area of judicial cooperation in criminal matters. The draft Law on Judicial Cooperation with EU Member States in criminal matters was adopted by the Government in September 2018. It aims to transpose an important number of EU acquis instruments into domestic legislation and to improve the efficiency of mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. However, it will need to be further amended at a later stage to transpose recent or forthcoming EU acquis instruments (e.g. Eurojust, ECRIS, European Public Prosecutor’s office and provisions on the Joint Investigation Teams)” as stated in the introductory remarks by Ms. Marzia Palotta, Project Officer, Judiciary, Home Affairs, EU Delegation to Montenegro.
Mrs Maria Grazia Benedetti, Deputy team leader of EUROL 2, stated ‘’ One of the goals of the Forum is to contribute to raising awareness that the international judicial cooperation is a powerful tool mainly but not only in the fight against organised crime and that it is based on the mutual trust of the States of shared standards of the rule of law. The main idea behind this event is the peer to peer exchange of experiences not only between international experts but also practitioners from EU countries and from the region in the area of international judicial cooperation’’.
Mr. Gualtiero Michelini, Judge at the Appellate Court in Rome, Mr. Stefano Opilo, Judge, Head of the Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters Directorate, Ministry of Justice, Mr. Alberto Perduca, Head of Prosecution Office in Asti and Mr. Andrea Venegoni, Judge of the Supreme Cassation Court four Italian experts engaged by EURoL II participated and delivered presentations on Extradition, European Arrest Warrant, Joint Investigation teams and European Public prosecution Office. More info about seminar can also be found on Ministry of Justice website: http://www.gov.me/naslovna/vijesti-iz-ministarstava/194464/Saopstenje-Regionalni-forum-o-pravosudnoj-saradnji-u-krivicnim-stvarima-instrumenti-standardi-i-praksa-poceo-u-Herceg-Novom.html