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The Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina

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BIH PROSECUTORS EXCHANGE EXPERIENCES AND ACQUIRE NEW EXPERTISE

12.03.2024. 09:50
Roundtable on the handling of organized crime cases involving the use of encrypted communication tools    
  • BIH PROSECUTORS EXCHANGE EXPERIENCES AND ACQUIRE NEW EXPERTISE

Sarajevo, March 11, 2024 - A roundtable discussion on the handling of high-level organized crime cases involving the criminal use of encrypted data is being held in Sarajevo. With the support of the EU4Justice project, 30 prosecutors, investigators and experts associates from the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office of Sarajevo Canton, who are working on cases with evidence from Sky and Anom applications, participated in this roundtable and shared their experiences on analyzing and using encrypted data with prosecutors from Belgium, experts in the field of fighting organized crime.

"We shared the experience of EU Member States with our colleagues from Bosnia and Herzegovina on how to investigate, prosecute, and deal with defense strategies before the courts in cases involving encrypted data. A particularly important segment that stands out is the improvement of mutual legal assistance and cooperation with the relevant law enforcement agencies, EUROPOL and EUROJUST, which is crucial in aligning the judicial system in BiH with European standards," prosecutor from Belgium.

Džermin Pašić, Head of the Sector for Fight Against Organized Crime and one of the prosecutors from the Sky Team of the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH, spoke about challenges in investigating and prosecuting cases with encrypted data in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the importance of international cooperation in solving these cases, emphasizing the following: "I work with my associates on the most challenging cases, both in the segment of illicit international trafficking in drugs, as well as money laundering, and this peer-to-peer exchange was of utmost value."

Mika Aalto, component leader within the EU4Justice project assisting the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH, underlined: “There is no doubt that prosecutors of the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH are developing expertise for working on cases related to encrypted communication. This roundtable enabled us to further connect top experts who have exchanged their experiences, but also gained new knowledge that will contribute to solving high-level organized crime cases using encrypted communication tools."

There is no doubt that prosecutors of the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH are developing expertise for working on cases related to encrypted communication. This roundtable enabled us to further connect top experts who have exchanged their experiences, but also gained new knowledge that will contribute to solving high-level organized crime cases using encrypted communication tools."

Between 2021 and 2023, the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH has so far conducted about 25 operations in cases with evidence from Sky and Anom applications, involving more than 150 suspects. Eight indictments were filed and confirmed with a total of 66 accused persons, with more than 10 defendants pleading guilty, and final verdicts were rendered.

Roundtable is organized as part of the EU4Justice Project - Phase II, "Support to Judicial Professionalism and the Fight against Organized Crime and Corruption in Bosnia and Herzegovina," which is implemented through the financial support of the European Union with the aim of harmonizing the judicial system of BiH with European standards through strengthening the independence, effectiveness, responsibility, and efficiency of the judicial sector in BiH.

 

 

INTERESTING INFORMATION ABOUT WORK ON SKY AND ANOM CASES

-The BiH Prosecutor’s Office has been working on cases with evidence obtained from the SKY and Anom applications since mid-2021. Eight indictments against 66 persons were filed and confirmed, and 13 defendants in two cases pleaded guilty by agreement, and the first final judgments were delivered in these cases.

-A total of 22 years and 10 months of final prison sentences were imposed. The prison sentences ranged from 1 to 5 years in prison; the secondary penalties in fines totaled BAM 29,000; and the unlawfully acquired property, totaling about BAM 53,000, was confiscated.

-In the cases with evidence collected from the Sky and Anom applications in operations carried out in the past two years, the disposal of assets was temporarily blocked and prohibited, and these include: 

-more than 35 real properties (apartments and houses, business premises, land, garages);

-confiscation of cash and blocking of cryptocurrency accounts in the amount of about BAM 5,500.000, and confiscation of ---expensive devices for cryptocurrency mining;

-more than 80 vehicles, some of which are valued at more than EUR 100,000;

-two expensive working construction machines;

-five expensive wrist watches worth around BAM 100,000;

 

-Furthermore, the narcotic drug’marijuana-skank’ in the total amount of 1670 kg was confiscated in the cases.

-Within the cases, the confiscation of unlawfully acquired gains worth millions, namely real estate and motor vehicles, was requested.

-In the period between 2021 and late 2023, prosecutors from the Sky team of the BiH Prosecutor’s Office, working together with law enforcement and security agencies from all levels in BiH, carried out about 25 operations throughout BiH, in which more than 150 suspects were deprived of liberty or taken in.

-Out of the total of 20 employees of police and law enforcement agencies covered by the investigation, five police officers, as well as a former adviser in the Ministry of Security of BiH, are among the accused. Among the suspects are active police officers from different law enforcement agencies, as well as two attorneys-at-law and a judge.

-In some of the operations carried out in the field, two or more law enforcement agencies from the state level, from the level of both entities, and from the level of the Brčko District of BiH acted together with the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH.

-Owing to the efforts of the BiH Prosecutor’s Office and with the assistance provided through mutual assistance, four suspects in the Sky cases were extradited to BiH from Serbia, Croatia, Germany, and the Republic of Turkey.

-Cooperation with partner institutions from Germany, the USA, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, etc. has been achieved, and we have good cooperation and communication with Europol, as well as with partner institutions of the countries of the region and the EU.

 

 


*Note on the principle of presumption of innocence

Dear Media Representatives, when transmitting news please bear in mind that persons referred to in the news and information of the BiH Prosecutor's Office, have the status of a suspect or an accused person. Let us remind you of the principle of presumption of innocence, which defines that no person shall be considered guilty until his/her guilt has been established by a final verdict.

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