Introduction

Department for International Co-operation and Legal Assistance of the Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office coordinates the actions at the requests for providing international legal assistance, monitors the changing trends in the local legal system, European legal practice and secures that the procedures comply with the European standards, ensures the implementation of fast and efficient direct informal legal assistance and the exchange of information through prosecutorial contact points, intensively cooperates with the representatives of international organisations and foreign institutions and participates in the work of international prosecutors’ networks and bodies.

Department for International Co-operation and Legal Assistance coordinates the process of providing international legal assistance in criminal matters both of the competent public prosecutor’s offices which are acting at the request submitted formally through the Ministry of Justice and government administration of the Republic of Serbia and through direct co-operation with the representatives of foreign prosecutor’s offices with regard to the exchange of information relevant to the criminal proceedings, both domestically and internationally, in accordance with the principles of the Second Additional Protocol accompanying the European Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, bilateral and multilateral Memorandums of Co-operation and appropriate norms in national legislative framework.

In order to strengthen international co-operation and legal assistance, the Department for International Co-operation and Legal assistance proposes, provides draft agreements and organizes signing of the Memorandums of Understanding and Co-operation which enable direct contact, direct communication, information exchange and more efficient co-operation and process of dealing with the cases involving cross-border crime. With regard to this, the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Serbia has signed 19 prosecutorial memorandums of co-operation.

Department for International Co-operation and Legal Assistance actively cooperates with the EU institutions. Department for International Co-operation and Legal Assistance is involved in the preparations for the process of negotiations with the EU through the participation in screening meetings regarding Chapters 23 and 24, which were held in September and October 2013, as well as in the preparations for bilateral screening which is to be held in December 2013. The Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office, together with the State Prosecutorial Council, is continuing intensive co-operation with representatives of the EU Directorate-General for Enlargement and EU Delegation to Serbia regarding further progress in the area of the rule of law, i.e. regarding Chapters 23 and 24. Moreover, the Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office, together with the State Prosecutorial Council, has deepened future co-operation with the representatives of the EU and EU Delegation to Serbia on programming and implementation of IPA projects, by continuing the coordination of activities and participation at the meetings regarding IPA projects 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, as well as regarding the involvement in drafting the proposals for future IPA projects in the period 2014-2017 and 2014-2020 (NAD).

The Department for International Co-operation and Legal Assistance of the Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office cooperates with the international organisations and foreign judicial authorities on projects regarding professional training aimed at public prosecutor’s office, by participating and/or organising the participation of the representatives of the public prosecutor’s office in countless conferences and study visits which deal with topics such as international legal co-operation, organised crime, economic offences, domestic violence, human trafficking, etc. In this respect, the Department for International Co-operation and Legal Assistance of the Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office coordinates international co-operation on professional training projects and preparation of public prosecutors and deputy public prosecutors for the implementation of the new Criminal Procedure Code. In co-operation with the Judicial Academy, OSCE Mission and the US Embassy in Serbia organised a training programme for the implementation of the new Criminal Procedure Code in the period from September to December 2013. In addition, the Department for International Co-operation and Legal Assistance coordinates international co-operation projects in the field of professional training with other foreign partners as well, such as the training programme for the prosecutors who specialise in human trafficking, which has been in implementation since October 2012 in co-operation with the Embassy of the Republic of France, NGO ASTRA (eng. Anti-Trafficking Action), GIZ and the Judicial Academy.

The Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office has been cooperating with the German Association for International Co-operation (GIZ) which has been implementing the IPA project 2010 "Fight against Organised Crime and Corruption: Strengthening the Prosecutors’ Network”. As a part of this project, the representatives of the Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office have participated in meetings of experts dealing with topics related to the fight against organised crime and corruption, such as the meetings entitled "Establishing Joint Investigative Teams”, "Safe Communication Channels”, etc., which were attended by the representatives of prosecutor’s offices of all the Western Balkans countries. In addition, the Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office has cooperated closely with Saskia de Vries, the EU Prosecutor assigned to the Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office under this project, in the field of international legal assistance.

Furthermore, co-operation has also been established with the World Bank through its involvement in projects in which the Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office is the intended end-user, such as projects entitled "The Analysis of Criminal Proceedings in Serbia” and "Judicial Functional Review of Serbian Justice System”, and with the Council of Europe as well, which is involved in projects such as drafting the manual for international legal assistance, professional training regarding the criminal offence of money laundering and financing of terrorism, etc.

The Republic Public Prosecutor’s Council is involved in the work of international prosecutors’ networks and bodies, such as EUROJUST, SEEPAG, CCPE, etc. The Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office has intensified the co-operation with EUROJUST. From 1 January 2013 to 15 August 2013 the Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office acted on 14 requests by EUROJUST, which have been responded to promptly, whereas the representatives of the public prosecutor’s office of the Republic of Serbia have taken part in 4 coordinating meetings. The Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office has also been involved actively in the work of the South-East European Prosecutors’ Advisory Group (SEEPAG) by attending regular semi-annual meetings. In the period 8th – 10th May 2013 the representative of the Department for International Co-operation and Legal Assistance of the Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office attended the regular meeting of the SEEPAG held on Corfu, Greece, entitled: "Illegal Migration Prevention”. In addition, the Department for International Co-operation and Legal Assistance of the Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office is involved in the work of the bodies established by the Council of Europe, including the work within the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors (CCPE). With regard to this, the representatives of the Department for International Co-operation took part in the regular annual session from 8th to 9th October 2013, as well as in the work of the Bureau of T/-CY Committee of the Budapest Convention of the Council of Europe (CETS 185) – for cybercrime.

The Department for International Co-operation and Legal Assistance of the Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office has established intense bilateral co-operation as well, by organising the visits of foreign delegations and representatives of foreign institutions to the Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office, as well as the visits of the Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office to foreign partners (such as the USA, France, Belgium, the UK, etc.).

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