The Serbian state is no longer a safe haven for criminals

Regional Conference on the Co-Operation in Combating Organised Crime in South-East Europe

Belgrade – The link between the political structures and organised crime, which was a characteristic of the Serbian society of the 1990s, has been severed in Serbia, Boris Tadić, the President of Serbia, stated at the start of the conference "Challenges and Achievements of the Regional and Transnational Co-operation in the Fight against Organised Crime in the Territory of Southeast Europe” at the Palace of Serbia.

- We are warriors against organised crime –Tadić said, adding that regional co-operation in the fight against organised crime was of the utmost strategic relevance, as well as that Serbia wished to offer support to everyone who wanted to take part in this fight. In his opinion, full resolve in the fight against organised crime was shown only after the last government had been formed, while organised crime was made fully aware that it may only be faced with hostility and systemic war in Serbia. Tadić pointed out that organised crime also called into question the very foundation of democratic societies, which is why it is necessary for all of the political institutions and security agencies to act in this fight in coordination with each other. He also added that key leaders of organised crime groups in Serbia were now either in prison or were convicted or had escaped to other safer locations because "Serbia was no longer a safe haven for criminals”. Tadić stated that the first deciding blow to the organised crime in Serbia was dealt by an international operation "Balkan Warrior” and the second blow was the successful implementation of the Law on Seizure of Proceeds of Crime.

The Minister of Justice, Snežana Malović, stated that the countries in the region should respond to the organised crime activities by cooperating and offering a joint vision in order to build a safer society and put the mafia on the defensive.

- This is also our obligation to all of the citizens of the world since crime and terrorism kill indiscriminately everyone, regardless of their age, ethnicity or sex – the Minister of Justice emphasised. She stated that crime was taking on different, new, more complex forms, adding that these challenges must be met with a new response, which is part of the idea of creating a regional arrest warrant.

The Minister of Interior, Ivica Dačić said that the national strategy of Serbia and highly set standards in the fight against organised crime provided a guarantee that Serbia was going to be a reliable partner to the countries in the region.

-Each country on its own is combating all types of organised crime, and we treat organised crime with special attention. It is clear that regional co-operation is the most successful method of combating organised crime – Dačić stressed.

The two-day conference was organised by the World Bank, the European Union and the Council of Europe, as well as the OSCE Mission in Belgrade.

Date: 29.11.2011.

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