43rd Plenary Meeting of the European Judicial Network
Mrs. Snejana Maleeva, Director for Legal and Internal Affairs of SELEC, attended the 43rd Plenary Meeting of the European Judicial Network (EJN), organized in Rome/Italy on 19th – 21st of November 2014, under the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Over 100 delegates from 32 European countries and also Canada and USA, as well as representatives from European Commission, Council of the European Union, Center for International Legal Cooperation and SEEPAG took part in the event.
Considering that the fight against transnational crimes, and organized crime in particular, necessarily requires a transnational collaboration among those countries that are directly affected by these phenomena, the discussions of the meeting tackled the topic of EJN cooperation with third countries, with a focus on Western Balkans and Latin America.
On this occasion, Mrs. Maleeva briefed the participants about the successful activities carried out under SEEPAG, as an important judicial mechanism in the field of international cooperation for combating and prosecuting trans-border organized crimes.
25th SEEPAG Conference on legal instruments and mechanisms which can simplify and accelerate the criminal procedure
Budapest/ Hungary, October 28 - 29, 2014 - During the 25th SEEPAG Conference held in Budapest on 28th - 29th of October 2014 the SEEPAG Members and the representatives of partners met in order to discuss the “Legal instruments and mechanisms which can simplify and accelerate the criminal procedure”.
The meeting was opened by the SEEPAG Chairperson, Mrs. Eszter Maria Köpf and by Mrs. Snejana Maleeva, SELEC Director for Legal and Internal Affairs. Mr. Tibor Ibolya, the Chief Prosecutor of the Metropolitan Prosecution Service of Budapest, addressed the audience and presented the instruments provided by the Hungarian legislation for accelerating and/or simplifying the criminal procedure. Mr. Ibolya’s presentation focused on the oral arraignment, a procedure which proved to be very efficient and should be widely used. Mr. Ibolya also stated that the structure of the prosecution service was changed, as a new unit dealing with the cases where this procedure can be used was recently established.
Mrs. Maleeva welcomed the new participants and thanked the Hungarian Chairmanship for the excellent organization. She presented the latest developments in SELEC, namely that United States of America has become Operational Partner with SELEC, and that during the next Interpol General Assembly to be held at the beginning of November 2014, the Cooperation Agreement between SELEC and INTERPOL will be signed, by this INTERPOL becoming also the Operational Partner of SELEC.
With a view of enlarging the cooperation at prosecutorial level, SEEPAG continued inviting the representatives of its partners to its meetings, so that representatives from Kingdom of Belgium and Ukraine attended the 25th SEEPAG Conference and presented their legal systems and also the tools contained by their national legislation for simplifying the procedure in criminal investigations.
The representative of the Regional Cooperation Council mentioned the SEE 2020 Strategy and the 2014-2016 Strategy and Work Programme, and also the future activities and events planned by the RCC in the framework of these strategies.
Each of the SEEPAG Members presented the different instruments provided by their national legislation for accelerating and simplifying the criminal procedure, the institution of “plea bargaining” existing in the domestic laws of all the member states, being commonly used by practitioners, despite the inherent difficulties and having in view that the effective administration of justice and the right to a fair trial should be always balanced.
Besides the main topic, all the participants mentioned about the improvements that could be brought to the national legal framework in order to swift and simplify the proceedings, and also shared their views related to their cooperation with regard to the mutual legal assistance requests.
The General Guidelines of SEEPAG provide the yearly rotation of the Chairmanship by alphabetical order, therefore at this last meeting of SEEPAG in 2014, the Chairmanship was transferred to Republic of Moldova, following that Mrs. Olga Ionas, Prosecutor in the Department for International Legal Assistance and European Integration of the General Prosecutor’s Office, to be the SEEPAG Chairperson in the year 2015.
The next 26th SEEPAG Conference will focus on the practical aspects related to the drug trafficking investigations and is planned to be organized in Chisinau/Republic of Moldova, in the last week of April 2015.
Bucharest, October 15, 2014 - A group of 10 prosecutors from Bulgaria, France, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sweden paid a visit to SELEC premises, in the framework of an experience exchange programme conducted in Romania and coordinated by the European Judicial Training Network.
During the meeting, the foreign magistrates were briefed about SELEC and SEEPAG, in terms of organizations’ main goals, resources, how they are structured and managed, successful cases and achivements. It was also highlighted the importance of involving the prosecutors in criminal investigations and cases, this cooperation representing an efficient mechanism for combating trans-border criminality in the Southeast European region.
Bucharest, September 9, 2014 – A group of 17 US officers acting in the field of rule of law programs from countries/organizations from the Balkans and EUCOM visited SELEC Headquarters and were welcomed by the SELEC Management (Mr. Gürbüz Bahadir, Director General, Mr. Cristian Duta, Director for Operations, and Mrs. Snejana Maleeva, Director for Legal and Internal Affairs). The US delegation was accompanied by Ms. Monica Custura, USDOJ/ OPDAT Legal Advisor at SELEC.
The guests were briefed about the activities of the Center and best practice examples of police and customs cooperation in the region, as well as about the activities of the prosecutors’ network SEEPAG. The Liaison Officers at SELEC also attended the meeting for an open dialogue related to law enforcement cooperation, programs and common interests in the region.
Bucharest, September 2, 2014 – Through the European Judicial Training Network exchange programme, the Italian Prosecutor Giancarlo Ferrucci visited SELEC Headquarters in Bucharest/ Romania, being welcomed by Mrs. Snejana Maleeva, SELEC Director for Legal and Internal Affairs.
The representatives from the Embassy of Italian Republic, Mr. Antonio Perrotta, Advisor to SELEC, and Mr. Ruggero Gianfelici, Liaison Officer, also attended the meeting jointly organized with the High Court of Cassation and Justice of Romania.
SEEPAG Secretariat briefed Mr. Ferrucci about the activities of the prosecutors’ network SEEPAG and its successful functionining under SELEC umbrella, mentioning the benefits of such law enforcement and judicial cooperation in the Southeast European region.
OSCE Conference on „Enhancing Cross-border Co-operation of the Criminal Justice System in Combating Transnational Crime in the OSCE Area”
Vienna/ Austria, 17 - 18 June 2014 - Mrs. Snejana Maleeva, SELEC Director for Legal and Internal Affairs and SEEPAG representative, participated at the OSCE Annual Police Experts Meeting, held in Vienna, on 17th - 18th of June 2014.
The event addressed the topic of direct cross-border co-operation between police and other elements of the criminal justice system, such as border and customs agencies, prosecutors and judges, aiming to provide a platform for national authorities to exchange views as well as to improve the inter-ministerial mechanisms of cooperation in view of speeding up the joint responses against transnational criminal activities.
The meeting was dedicated to the different forms and possibilities of cross-border co-operation. On the basis of concrete examples, best practices of co-operation mechanisms involving law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and judges were presented and the challenges of such co-operation discussed.
Mrs. Maleeva delivered a comprehensive presentation about the successful functionining and activity of the prosecutors’ network SEEPAG, under SELEC auspices, mentioning the benefits of such law enforcement and judicial cooperation in the Southeast European region.
During the meeting, the excellent collaboration between SELEC and SEEPAG, aiming to obtain greater efficiency and optimization of the investigative activities, was presented as a good example of cooperation in order to prevent and combat trans-border criminality.
Bucharest, May 7, 2014 - On 7th of May 2014, through the European Judicial Training Network exchange programme, a group of eight prosecutors from Germany, Italy, Poland and Romania paid a working visit to the SELEC Headquarters in Bucharest/ Romania being welcomed by the SELEC Management and by the SEEPAG Secretariat.
Mrs. Snejana Maleeva, Director for Legal and Internal Affairs, briefed the participants about SEEPAG, its activities, meetings, benefits and external relations, whilst Mr. Cristian Duta, Director for Operations, informed about how the SELEC Center works, and about its latest successful operations and projects.
During the visit, it was highlighted the development of SEEPAG, as it is a more operational judicial network, its visibility being significantly increased, and the participation in its bi-annual conferences was enlarged by inviting representatives of the prosecution services of the SELEC’s partner states, as well as from Eurojust and European Judicial Network.
According to the previous practice, these kind of study visits organized in the framework of the European Judicial Training Network programme take place twice per year, so that the next visit is expected to take place in the Autumn of 2014, by this more practitioners having the opportunity to learn about SELEC and SEEPAG, their functioning in the Southeast European region for more than a decade.
24th Conference of SEEPAG focusing on Protection of the witnesses and of the official members in criminal proceedings
Budapest/ Hungary, 28 - 29 April 2014 - The “Protection of the witnesses and of the official members in criminal proceedings” was discussed during the last Conference of SEEPAG, which was held in Budapest on 28th – 29th of April, under Hungarian Chairmanship, with the participation of the General Prosecutor of Hungary.
Mr. Péter Polt, General Prosecutor of Hungary, declared : „We are very honoured to assume the role of the SEEPAG’s Presidency in 2014 and host this conference. In the most recent years SEEPAG has become an important factor in Europe in the field of judicial cooperation. Lots of European and international documents make reference to this organization. SEEPAG could play an important role in this field since we know that the basis of the good judicial cooperation is always good personal relationships.”
Besides SEEPAG Members, Partner’s representatives from Belgium, The Netherlands, United States Department of Justice, European Judicial Network and Eurojust attended the meeting.
Mrs. Snejana Maleeva, SELEC Director for Legal and Internal Affairs, welcomed the participants, thanked the hosts, and informed about the activities and latest developments in SELEC. Among them, Mrs. Maleeva, mentioned the Project on Cross-border Deployment of Undercover Officers and Informants, which resulted into a Manual, a helful instrument for the law enforcement and judicial authorities. Mrs. Maleeva stated that: „The aim of the project was to create an interactive network of respective units in the SELEC Member States providing training exercises and organizing regional workshops that brought together experts in this field. At the end of the project It was agreed that the adopted Manual on Cross-border Deployment of Undercover Officers and Informants to be disseminated among the SEEPAG Members, being available for law enforcement and judicial use only.”
During the two days’ conference, the SEEPAG Members presented their national legislation and practices, procedures and cases related to the important topic of witness protection.
The invited representatives of Belgium, The Netherlands and United States of America had a short introduction regarding their national judicial structure and legislation related to the topic. SELEC Partner’s representatives were invited to the SEEPAG Conference with a view to increase the effectiveness of the common judicial collaboration and to support their work in the field of international cooperation.
The National Member of Hungary to Eurojust was also present during the event, Mr. László Venczl briefed the participants on the newest developments in Eurojust.
The representative of the European Judicial Network, Ms. Ele-Marit Eomois informed the participants about the adoption at the 41st EJN Plenary meeting, in 2013, of the Memorandum on the need for enhancing the collaboration and improving the interconnection between the European Judicial Network and similar judicial cooperation networks in criminal matters, document which includes the cooperation with SEEPAG. Ms. Eomois also presented the benefits offered by the tools contained by the EJN website (the Compedium, the Atlas, Fiches Belges, European Arrest Warrant, a/o).
As the project came to an end, representatives of the IPA 2010 Project Fight against organised crime and corruption: Strengthening the Prosecutors´ Network present informed about the outcome of the project, including the development of a website offering useful tools for practitioners in the SEE region.
It was decided to have the next SEEPAG Conference under the Chairmanship of Mrs. Eszter Mária Köpf, Prosecutor, Head of Department for International and European Affairs, Office of the Prosecutor General of Hungary, in the Autumn of 2014.
Bucharest, April 2, 2014 - In the frame of the EU/IPA 2010 Project “Fight against organized crime and corruption: strengthening the prosecutors’ network”, a group of 18 prosecutors from Republic of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo*, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Romania and Republic of Serbia, paid a visit to SELEC premises, being welcomed by Mrs. Snejana Maleeva, Director for Legal and Internal Affairs, and Mr. Cristian Duta, Director for Operations of SELEC.
The participants were briefed about SEEPAG and SELEC's objectives and structure, as well as about the successful activities carried out under SEEPAG and SELEC auspices and the benefits of such law enforcement and judicial cooperation in the Southeast European region.
Meeting addressing the international judicial cooperation in criminal matters
The 41st Plenary Meeting of the European Judicial Network (EJN) was held in Vilnius on 19th - 21st of November 2013, under the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
SEEPAG was represented at the meeting by Ms. Snejana Maleeva, Director for Legal and Internal Affairs of SELEC, who also briefed the participants about the successful functioning, under SELEC auspices, of the prosecutors’ network.
The main purpose of the EJN Plenary meeting was to provide a forum for discussions on legal cooperation in criminal matters with third countries, including Eastern partnership countries, in order to enhance collaboration and coordination between EJN, other judicial networks and similar structures and third countries.
During the meeting there was presented and discussed the Memorandum on the need for enhancing the collaboration and improving the interconnection between the EJN and similar judicial cooperation networks in criminal matters, SEEPAG being included in the mentioned Memorandum, as one of the prosecutorial network with which EJN wants to further develop the cooperation.
Working Visit to the SELEC Premises
Bucharest, November 20, 2013 - Through the European Judicial Training Network exchange programme, a group of eleven prosecutors from Bulgaria, France, Romania, Slovakia and Spain visited SELEC Headquarters in Bucharest/ Romania.
Representatives of SELEC and SEEPAG Secretariat made an extensive overview about both organizations' objectives, structure and activities, underlining the successful operations carried out under SELEC and SEEPAG auspices and the benefits of such law enforcement and judicial cooperation in the Southeast European region.
It was also mentioned that at the last SEEPAG meeting, besides the SEEPAG Members, representatives from all SELEC partners were invited to attend with a view to further develop the collaboration at prosecutorial level.
SEEPAG has developed its good relations with European Judicial Network as the cooperation between judicial networks is essential in tackling more efficiently transnational organized crime.