US set to name Resident Legal Advisor for Western Balkans

NEWS 20.12.2021 18:18
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Source: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The US Justice Department is set to appoint a Resident Legal Advisor for the Western Balkans to help enhance the judiciary and law enforcement capacities of the countries of the region.

The Advisor will be assigned to the US Embassy in Croatia and will represent the Justice Department and its Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT).

“The mission of the Criminal Division’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT) is to develop and administer technical and developmental assistance designed to enhance the capabilities of foreign justice sector institutions and their law enforcement personnel. This assistance is administered to enable those institutions and their personnel to combat terrorism, transnational organized crime, corruption, financial crimes, and other types of crimes more effectively in a manner consistent with the rule of law. The assistance is also administered to enable those institutions and their personnel to more effectively cooperate regionally and with the United States in combating such crime,” the Justice Department web site said.

It said that the Resident Legal Advisor will provide technical assistance (funded by the Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs) to raise capacity to investigate, prosecute, and adjudicate cases involving corruption and organized crime throughout the Western Balkans, including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia.

“Assistance will focus on, but is not limited to, procurement fraud, corruption, money laundering, organized crime, FinTech, gender-based violence, and trafficking. This will involve technical assistance, mentoring, and advice on the investigation, prosecution, and adjudication of cases. It will also involve analysis of, and advice on, current or pending legislation,” it added.

OPDAT helped establish specialized police and prosecutor anti-corruption units in Serbia, provided direct case-based mentoring to local prosecutors on high-profile corruption cases in Kosovo; and leads the Bosnia-Herzegovina anti-corruption inter-agency working group tasked with corruption issues.