Thursday, November 19, 2009

Serbia Battles Organized Crime

By: Jelena Jovanovic
Belgrade, Nov.14, 2009 (Serbia Today) - In the statement given on October 27th, the chief of Belgrade police Milorad Veljovic, stressed that all kinds of crime in Serbia are decreasing, except organized crime, Veljovic also announced the continuation of large scale law enforcement crack downs directed at stopping drug smuggling and drug dealing which is run by organized crime in Serbia. He added that the priority of Serbian law enforcement combating organized crime included the fight against corruption.
Veljovic stressed the importance of internationalizing the campaign against organized crime.
“The only possible way to fight organized crime in Serbia, is to cooperate with law enforcement agencies in the region,“ said Veljovic.
In September of this year, European officials gathered in Belgrade for a two-day regional conference on combating organized crime in the Balkans. Participants in the conference were interior and justice ministers from the region, as well as representatives of European organizations such as Interpol and Eurojust.
Serbian president Boris Tadic said that, “unfortunately, the political fragmentation of societies in Europe did not result in the fragmentation of organized crime.“
Instead, he said, fragmentation in the Balkans actually "accelerated the cooperation among organized criminal groups, which have always been one step ahead of the institutions that fight them."
Organized crime has developed networks for drug trafficking and human trafficking, as well as fraud and cyber crime. Organized criminal groups are cooperating with other criminal groups in the region accross the international borders. Kosovo and Metohija continues to be a hot bed for organized criminal networks engaged in drug and human trafficing which impacts all neighboring countries.
Jacques Bare, vice-president of the European Commission for Justice, Freedom and Safety Issues, while attending a conference in Belgrade, stated that organized crime had specific weight in Balkan region, and that it could imperil its integration into the EU.
He also stressed that all citizens in EU should feel safe and protected and that it was necessary for all countries to fight against organized crime, to have the resources for that fight, an effective legal system, and stronger mechanisms for the fight against corruption.
Daily media coverage of crime in Serbia of individual cases of violent crime has increased the publics outcry for stronger sentancing and more effective prosecution. The State is responding to this demand by responding more swiftly to individual cases, especially those that have received public attention, such as the recent football violence.
Hopefully, the public outcry and the wide attention given to the exploits of organized crime will continue to spur Serbian law enforcement to keep the pressure on, and keep Serbia’s path forward clear.

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