Practical Aspects of Criminal Investigations in BiH – Stronger Police and Justice Cooperation

A Working Conference of Representatives of Police and Prosecutor’s Offices on Practical Aspects of Criminal Investigations in BiH, held on 13 and 14 December 2012 in the State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) in East Sarajevo, was officially opened with welcome addresses by Mr. Anđelko Hrgić, Assistant Director and Chief of the Criminal-Investigation Department of SIPA and Mr. Severin Strohal, Head of the Operations Section for Justice and Home Affairs and Public Administration Reform of the EU Delegation to BiH. The Conference was focused on defining standards for “grounds of suspicion” of committed criminal offences as well as determining starting points of prosecutor‘s supervision in regards to the work of authorised officials during the criminal investigations. These issues are crucial for strengthening the police-justice cooperation and improving the effectiveness of criminal investigations in BiH.

The Conference was organised by the EU funded project „EU Support to Law Enforcement“ in cooperation with the SIPA and represents one of the activities planned under the project Component IX dealing with police-justice cooperation. A number of international experts from EUROPOL, Austria, Hungary and Slovenia, as well as national experts representing the work of police, prosecutors’ offices and courts in BiH, took part in the Conference.

“It is our honour to host this event in the premises of our Agency, which strives with its overall work to be an example of successful inter-police cooperation as well as police cooperation with respective prosecutors’ offices. We appreciate and support all activities that lead towards improvement of cooperation between police and prosecutors in the process of ensuring evidence in criminal investigations”, said Mr. Hrgić.

Mr. Strohal underlined that “It is important to see the investigation as a team effort which requires a good understanding of the roles and obligations of both sides. At the operational level, police and prosecutors are mutually dependent. Because in the end it is both the police’s and prosecutor’s interest to bring an investigation to a successful close at the court by ensuring the right quality for an indictment and its successful completion in court.”

The project funded by the EU in the amount of 7 Million EUR, from the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA 2010), will continue until 30 April 2014. The project consortium partners include the Ministries of Interior of the Republic of Austria, Republic of Slovenia, Hungary and of the Land Brandenburg of the Federal Republic of Germany, as well as the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), and Transparency International BiH (as an Associate). Beneficiary partners are BiH law enforcement agencies at state, entity, cantonal and Brčko District level.