Strengthening regional cooperation in the prosecution of war crimes and search for missing persons

Apr 19, 2017

The Second Regional Consultation this year - the meeting on strengthening regional cooperation in the prosecution of war crimes and search for missing persons, which gathered the Supreme State Prosecutor of Montenegro Ivica Stankovic, Acting State Prosecutor of Bosnia and Herzegovina Gordana Tadic, State Attorney of the Republic of Croatia Dinko Cvitan and Head of the War Crimes Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Serbia Milan Petrovic and representatives of the Missing Persons Institute of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Office for Detained and Missing Persons of the Republic of Croatia, Commission for Missing Persons of the Republic of Serbia and Commission for Missing Persons of Montenegro - took place in Budva, Montenegro on 19 April 2017.  

At the opening of the event, Supreme State Prosecutor of Montenegro Ivica Stankovic said “all participants, representatives of prosecutors’ offices in the region have a common goal – to improve regional cooperation and make it more efficient and effective.”

The meeting was organized as part of the UNDP regional project “Enhancing Regional Cooperation in Processing of War Crimes and the Search for Missing Persons (2017 - 2019)”, which aims to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of cooperation between the prosecution services of the former Yugoslav countries in the processing of war crimes and to further enhance the capacities to search for the missing persons from the armed conflicts.

“This joint work and collaboration are essential to ensure equal access to justice of the most vulnerable, to increase their trust in justice institutions and to overall peace and stability in the region. It will facilitate the process of accession to EU for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, and in particular help fulfil the requirements set in Chapters 23 and 24,” said Fiona McCluney, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative to Montenegro.

The previous regional cooperation meeting took place on 14th February 2017 in Zagreb, Croatia, where the framework and the modalities of the regional cooperation have started to be discussed in details.

The participants agreed on the scope of the regional project activities, intended to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the cooperation between the prosecution services and institutions for the search of missing persons of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia. They have also noted the positive progress in their cooperation since Zagreb meeting and have underlined the importance of such meetings in building the trust and confidence amongst their services. They have also discussed how to harmonize their practices in identifying the cases for the joint review and address the differences in the countries’ legal frameworks. In addition, they have exchanged their views on improving the cooperation between the institutions for the search of missing persons through more robust flow of information and update and upgrade of the web-pages so that the families of missing can have an access to the information about the search processes and investigations. They have also agreed on further actions that will boost the cooperation in the upcoming period.  

It was agreed that the next regional cooperation meeting would take place in Belgrade in September 2017, and will build on the results of upcoming bilateral meetings and other project activities that will be undertaken by September 2017.

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