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Photo: GIZ: Modern forensic equipment for fighting organized crime
The project makes up-to-date forensic equipment available to its partners. This is an essential element in fighting organised crime. (© Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina / Admir Malagić)

Western Balkans:teamwork & transnational cooperation

Prosecutors and investigators are fighting organised crime across borders.

Graphic: GIZ: SDG 16 Peace, justice and strong institutions
Graphic: GIZ: SDG 17 Partnerships for the goals

An investigative team has struck a significant blow against a drug cartel in North Macedonia: 240 kilograms of amphetamine were seized, two laboratories dismantled, 13 people arrested and five of them convicted in May 2019. The successful outcome was the result of effective international cooperation to fight cross-border crime in the Western Balkans – carried out with support from GIZ on behalf of BMZ and with EU cofinancing.

The special thing about this approach is that prosecutors and police from EU member states are supporting partner institutions in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia. This makes it possible to create multi-national investigation teams – just like the one that smashed the drug cartel. Pooling their expertise makes these teams much more powerful than they would be without EU colleagues.

Together with the Italian Ministry of the Interior and the Dutch Center for International Legal Cooperation, this project backed by GIZ is making sure that the police and prosecutors can establish better links between the Balkan countries and the EU to put a stop to international gangs. Sharing knowledge and experience without red tape makes it easier to track down and transfer evidence.

The project has already provided support of this kind to more than 100 investigations into migrant trafficking, illegal money laundering and drug cartels, for example. Various criminal proceedings have ensued, along with changes in the law, the creation of new offices, for instance to track down fugitives, and an active exchange of ideas and information among partner institutions. They include Eurojust, an EU agency dealing with judicial cooperation. Eurojust coordinates cross-border criminal proceedings at European level and has now entered into cooperation arrangements with individual Balkan countries and established robust exchange formats. North Macedonian prosecutor Lenche Ristoska is one of the first liaison prosecutors from a Balkan country to work at Eurojust. Her work is also supported by GIZ. Ms Ristoska is confident that cooperation will ‘make large strides forward and spur the fight against cross-border organised crime.’

‘The special thing about working together with GIZ is the combination of expertise and practical implementation: training and advice from experienced experts are put into practice on specific cases. This means that ongoing cases are solved more quickly, but also allows prosecutors and investigators from different countries to share knowledge in the long run.’

Lenche Ristoska, the first prosecutor from North Macedonia at Eurojust, on the added value of this partnership
(© Lenche Ristoska)

Photo: GIZ: Lenche Ristoska, first female public prosecutor from Northern Macedonia

Insights into our projects in 2019

We are active in some 120 countries with 1,600 projects.
Discover the world of GIZ by learning about examples of projects undertaken in the 2019 reporting year.

Ghana: agribusiness & innovation

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Nigeria: energy & environmental protection

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Read more about GIZ’s work in Africa
Read more about GIZ’s work in Asia
Read more about GIZ’s work in Europe
Read more about GIZ’s work in North and Central America
Read more about GIZ’s work in South America

Mexico: identification & mediation

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South Africa and Uganda: water & responsibility

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South Africa and Uganda: water & responsibility

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Africa: young & forward-looking

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Egypt and Kosovo: knowledge & communication

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Cameroon: local & digital

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Libya: confidence & hope

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Niger and Mexico: cooperation & progress

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Sri Lanka: understanding & reconciliation

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Thailand: reap & reduce

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India: health & social security

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China: inspiration & training

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Iraq: hackathons & hope

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Egypt and Kosovo: knowledge & communication

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Western Balkans: teamwork & transnational cooperation

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Niger and Mexico: cooperation & progress

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Brazil: forests & diversity

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Global: health & cooperation

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