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Elections for the Managerial positions held during the 18th session of the SELEC Council

The 18th session of the Council- the highest decision- making body of SELEC- took place on the 11th of December 2018 at SELEC Headquarters in Bucharest/Romania, with the participation of the Council members from all SELEC Member States and representatives of SELEC Partner countries and organizations, namely Republic of Belarus, Kingdom of Belgium, CARICC, Czech Republic, Europol, French Republic, Israel, Italian Republic, Kingdom of Spain and United States of America, as well as SELEC Liaison Officers and Staff.

The meeting was chaired by Mr. Andrei Stefan Linta, Director of the International Police Cooperation Centre within the General Inspectorate of Romanian Police,  as the Chairmanship of the Council for the year 2018 belongs to Romania.

Mrs. Snejana Maleeva, Director General of SELEC, welcomed the participants and briefed about the latest activities developed within SELEC, presenting also SELEC Operational Report for the first semester of 2018 and the stage of the projects applications and implementation.

One of the important topic on the agenda of the 18th Council meeting were the elections for the position of Director for Operations and Director for Legal and Internal Affairs.

The Romanian candidate for the position, Mr. Valentin Niculescu, Director for European Affairs, Schengen and International Relations, General Inspectorate of Border Police, was successfully elected as the new Director for Operations of SELEC for a three years mandate.

The elections for the position of Director for Legal and Internal Affairs were also successful, the candidate of The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ms. Tanja Levajkovikj, Assistant Minister in Financial Affairs Department within the Ministry of Interior being elected.

In accordance with the Rules of Procedure of the Council the Chairmanship of the Council was transferred to Republic of Serbia

15 years of SEEPAG

On 12 of December 2003, in Belgrade/Republic of Serbia, was adopted the Declaration of the prosecutors representatives by which the Southeast European Prosecutors Advisory Group (SEEPAG) was created with the purpose to reinforce the fight against the serious forms of crime in South Eastern Europe. SEEPAG is functioning under SELEC auspices, having the same eleven Member States as SELEC, namely Republic of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Bulgaria, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Hellenic Republic, Hungary, Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Republic of Serbia and Republic of Turkey.

The main functions of SEEPAG are to provide operational support and assistance to each other, to SELEC and to relevant law enforcement agencies in trans-border criminal investigations and prosecutions, and to provide advice, assistance, and guidance on criminal policy and legal issues related to law enforcement matters in the region.

Over the years the prosecutorial cooperation in the framework of SEEPAG was continuously developed and enlarged, thus, besides the eleven Member States, the representatives of the General Prosecution Offices of SELEC partner states joined efforts in bringing swifter criminals to justice.

“Acknowledging that cooperation between law enforcement and prosecutors in our region has to be further strengthened and improved, I am confident that we will further enhance the cooperation and continue to develop SEEPAG, with a view of ensuring the stability and security in Southeast Europe, by preventing and countering trans-border organized crime.” -
Mrs. Snejana Maleeva, Director General of SELEC, affirmed on this special occasion.

The 10th meeting of the Container Security Task Force

The 10th meeting of the Container Security Task Force organized by SELEC was held on 29th of November 2018 at the SELEC Headquarters in  Bucharest/Romania, with the participation of law enforcement officers from SELEC Member States and representatives of partners, such as GCC-Criminal Information Center to Combat Drugs, European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM), French Republic, International Organization for Migration (IOM), Slovakia, Spain and World Custom Organization (WCO).

A short overview on the Container Security Task Force and its latest activities, as well as the future expectations related to this Task Force were presented by the Hellenic National Coordinator of the Container Security Task Force.

Also, the Regional Assessment on Container Security prepared by SELEC was presented during the meeting, the assessment being drafted based on the information provided by the SELEC Member States.

During the meeting, the SELEC Member States’ experts presented the current situation as regards the Container Security field, in particular new trends and challenges, investigations, proposals a/o.

Among the future priorities were mentioned the necessity to coordinate with the other Task Forces, to cooperate with other international organizations or bodies acting in this field, to coordinate region wide operations, practical trainings and exercises, to train experts on different topics and maintain a continuous evaluation of the regional situation.

The Container Security Task Force, established in 2005 and coordinated by Hellenic Republic, has regular meetings organized by SELEC.

Workshop on Combating Intellectual Property Theft through Increased Container Security organized by SELEC and US Department of Justice

The Southeast European Law Enforcement Center and the Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT) at the U.S. Department of Justice, organized on 27-28 November 2018, at SELEC Training Center, the Workshop on Combating Intellectual Property Theft through Increased Container Security.

The workshop was attended by high level officials, by investigators, customs officers and prosecutors from SELEC Member States and from Cyprus, Georgia and Ukraine.

The Director General of SELEC, Mrs. Snejana Maleeva, as well as Mr. Augustin Lazar, the Prosecutor General of Romania, Mr. Victor Wili Apreutesei, Deputy General Inspector of the Romanian Police, Ms. Abigail Rupp, Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy in Bucharest and Ms. Anca Pop, Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordinator, addressed the participants at the opening of the workshop.

During opening remarks, Mrs. Maleeva mentioned the importance of the topic, briefed about SELEC’s mission and provided information about the SELEC Container Security Task Force established in 2005. Mrs. Maleeva expressed appreciation as regards the long term collaboration with USA which proved to be very fruitful in achieving the common objective of combating transnational organized crime, as a proof standing also the joint organization of this workshop. USA has been a close partner since the establishment of SECI Center in 1999, currently having the status of Operational Partner with SELEC. [read more]

Regional workshop on the control and deactivation of firearms organized by SELEC

In the framework of project SIRAS - Strengthening the fight against firearms trafficking in Southeastern Europe, SELEC organized during 13-14 November 2018 in Sarajevo/Bosnia and Herzegovina, a regional workshop aiming at exploring various aspects related to the control and deactivation of firearms.

Opening remarks were addressed by Mrs. Snejana MALEEVA, Director General of SELEC, who underlined the particular relevance of the topic for the region and the fact that it requires coordination, complementarity and synergy of efforts. Mr. Mijo KREŠIC, Deputy Minister of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, addressed the audience, expressing appreciation towards SELEC’s activity, presented the actions taken by Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to strengthen the control of small and light weapons.

The workshop was moderated by Mr. Robert PATRANCUS, SELEC Criminal Analyst, who underlined the importance of understanding and assessing all the aspects (legal, procedural, technical, etc.) of the control and deactivation of firearms, in order for the law enforcement agencies to be prepared to face any challenge.

Experts in tackling firearms trafficking from the National Police forces and from the national authorities in charge of deactivating firearms from SELEC Member States, as well as by other relevant professionals from partner countries and organizations such as Germany, Italy, the Nordic Countries, Spain, the United Kingdom, EUBAM, EUFOR, The HALO Trust, OSCE and Small Arms Survey attended the workshop. [read more]

The annual meeting of the Task Force on Countering Trafficking in Human Beings and Illegal Migration

The 25th meeting of the Task Force on Countering Trafficking in Human Beings and Illegal Migration was held on 24th October 2018, at the SELEC premises in Bucharest/Romania, with the participation of law enforcement experts in the field from SELEC Member States, representatives of the partners (Belarus, IOM, Italy, Spain, Ukraine and USA) and of the private sector.

Opening remarks were addressed by Mrs. Snejana Maleeva, Director General, who underlined the importance of international cooperation in cases of trafficking in human beings and smuggling of migrants, pointing out at the same time the successful joint investigations conducted by the Member States with the support of SELEC.

The meeting was chaired by Mr. Silviu Pitran, Trafficking in Human Beings and Illegal Migration Task Force Manager and Romanian Police Liaison Officer at SELEC.

During the meeting, the key findings of the SELEC Report on Trafficking in Human Beings and the Report on Smuggling of Migrants were presented.

Presentations regarding new trends and modus operandi, best practices and successful joint investigations targeting organized crime groups engaged in trafficking in human beings and smuggling of migrants were delivered by the experts, representatives of the SELEC Member States.

The Task Force on Countering Trafficking in Human Beings and Illegal Migration was established in May 2000, being coordinated by Romania.

Visit of the representatives of the European Working Group on Non-Lethal Weapons

SELEC hosted today a visit of the participants to the annual meeting of the European Working Group on Non-Lethal Weapons and representatives of the Center for Criminal Justice and Security Studies (CJS), being welcomed by Mrs. Snejana Maleeva, Director General of SELEC.

During the meeting, SELEC representatives made an extensive presentation of SELEC, its mission, activities, way of functioning, cases involving SELEC countries, as well as provided a brief description of project S.I.R.A.S - Strengthening the Fight against Firearms Trafficking in Southeastern Europe, project currently implemented by SELEC.

Also, the European Working Group on Non-Lethal Weapons and the SAFTE project - Studying the Acquisition of illicit Firearms by Terrorists in Europe, were introduced by the CJS experts.

The European Working Group on Non-Lethal Weapons supports the development, validation and use of technologies, devices and tactics which are intended to preserve life whilst enabling lawful and appropriate use of force in response to threats.

Visit of a law enforcement delegation from Ukraine

The Director General, Mrs. Snejana Maleeva, received today the visit of the Ukrainian delegation headed by Mr. Anatolii Dmitriev, Head of National Police Department of Chernivtsi region. The parties discussed about the possibilities of further developing the cooperation, as well as about the involvement of Ukraine in SELEC’s activities.

The members of the delegation also attended the 25th meeting held in the framework of the Countering Trafficking in Human Beings and Illegal Migration Task Force.

Ukraine has the status of Observer to SELEC since 2012.

SELEC hosted one of the Operational Coordination Units in Interpol’s Global operation LIONFISH

In the period 17 September - 8 October 2018 was carried out Global Operation codenamed LIONFISH led by INTERPOL that focused on illicit substances and drug trafficking.

During this first global initiative simultaneously involving all of INTERPOL’s regions, SELEC hosted and supported the regional Operational Coordinating Unit (OCU) involving participating European countries including several Middle East countries, being one of the five OCUs set up for conducting this operation.

Operation LIONFISH led to the arrest of 1,300 suspects and the seizure of more than 35 tonnes of cocaine, five tonnes of heroin, 15 tonnes of cannabis and 430,000 Captagon tablets.

On this occasion SELEC Director General, Mrs. Snejana Maleeva, said: “Over the years, the partnership between INTERPOL and SELEC has proved to be a benchmark pillar for enlarged cooperation for the benefit of the Member states, the results of the Operation Lionfish being the latest proof of its efficiency by addressing organized crime through a common approach.”

The LIONFISH Operation is also a practical outcome of the Cooperation agreement concluded between Interpol and SELEC in 2014.

SELEC opens an integrated training center for supporting firearms trafficking investigations

In the framework of the EU project S.I.R.A.S -Strengthening the Fight against Firearms Trafficking in Southeastern Europe, SELEC established on its premises an integrated training center for supporting firearms trafficking investigations on dark net markets.

The center, equipped with cutting edge technology (laptops, server, network attached storage, projector, software tools, a/o), opened its doors with the first training session, a successful event that was held in September 2018. The training center is available to all SELEC Member States and partners, its aim being to provide the necessary platform for organizing all kind of trainings, seminars, workshops addressed to the law enforcement officers.

Focusing on the fight against the most sophisticated and fast-evolving types of cybercrime, this initiative is another example of SELEC’s constant effort to lead the law enforcement endeavors in Southeast Europe.

Project S.I.R.A.S is co-funded by the Internal Security Fund of the European Union under the funding mechanism Home/2015/ISFP/AG/TDFX/400000735-Internal Security Fund, having as partners the General Inspectorate of the Romanian Police, SELEC, Albanian State Police, Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgarian General Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Italian Ministry of Interior. The total budget of the project is EUR 562,072.00, out of which EUR 505,864.80 financed by the European Union.

Official visit to Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre (CARICC)

At the invitation of the Director of CARICC, Mr. Grigory Borisovich Pustovitov, on October 12th, 2018, Mrs. Snejana Maleeva, Director General, had an official visit to CARICC- Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre for combating the illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors.

The parties discussed on the possibilities of further developing the cooperation between the two organizations and to finalize the procedure for CARICC to obtain the Operational Partner status with SELEC, namely to conclude the negotiations of the Cooperation Agreement.

In the second part of the visit, Mrs. Maleeva attended the meeting of the observer states and plenipotentiary representatives of CARICC Member States, meeting focused on the enhancement of the exchange of information and analytical data, in creation and operation of electronic databases. During the meeting, SELEC’s Director General delivered a presentation of the latest activities and results of SELEC and its Member States in the field of combating drug trafficking.

CARICC was established in 1996 by the Memorandum of Understanding on sub-regional drug control cooperation concluded between the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, the Republic of Uzbekistan and UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

EU - Western Balkans Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Forum

During 4-5 October 2018, Mrs. Snejana Maleeva, Director General, represented SELEC at the EU–Western Balkans Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Forum that took place in Tirana/Republic of Albania with the participation of the Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs of Austria, representing the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, their counterparts from the Western Balkans and the European Commission representatives.

The Ministers underlined the importance of the respect of rule of law, justice and fundamental rights in the EU's relations with the region. Migration and border management, counter-terrorism and radicalisation, as well as the joint fight against migrant smuggling and organised crime were discussed under the home affairs section.

During the Forum, a Joint Action Plan on Counter Terrorism for the Western Balkans was signed that calls on Western Balkan partners and the European Union to take ambitious actions in order to reach their counter-terrorism objectives.

The Southeast European Law Enforcement Center together with OSCE update the manual for regional law enforcement officers on combating trafficking of illicit drugs

A manual designed to assist law enforcement officers in South-East Europe in launching controlled delivery operations to combat the trafficking of illicit drugs and their precursors has been updated by the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC) in co-operation with the Strategic Police Matters Unit of the OSCE Transnational Threats Department.

The updated Controlled Delivery Manual for South-East European Countries provides practitioners from 17 SELEC countries and observers with the contact details of authorized officers in these countries who are responsible for controlled deliveries.

The Manual describes the legislation or rules governing controlled deliveries in each country of the region and explains how to request such a measure. It outlines the role of foreign authorities in a controlled delivery, clarifies the possibility of substitution, the duration of such measures, and the contact details of respective authorities as well as other relevant information.

This Manual is designed for the use by law enforcement agencies and judiciaries.

7 years of SELEC

On 7th of October 2018 we celebrate the 7th year of existence of the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC), the successor of SECI Center which was founded in 1999.

SELEC promotes and facilitates enhanced regional cooperation between the competent law enforcement authorities of SELEC Member States and their counterparts in other states, with a view to contribute to the effectiveness in preventing and combating all forms of transborder organized crime in Southeast Europe.

During the years SELEC continuously strived to fulfill its mission at its best, evolving at institutional and operational level, the increasing trend in the number of exchanges of information and requests of assistance, as well as in the number of operational meetings and joint investigations supported by SELEC, the drafted analytical reports, the involvement in international projects, the fully equipped training center and the new Operational Center Unit, stand as a proof of this development.

Having in view the importance of our mission, SELEC always conferred a paramount consideration for enhancing the cooperation, building up and strengthening partnerships, thus besides the 11 Member States that successfully cooperate in the framework of SELEC, 3 Operational partners and 21 Observers joined synergies in attaining the objective of ensuring the security in the region and not only. [read more]

Organized Crime Threat Assessment for Southeast Europe

SELEC launches the Organized Crime Threat Assessment for Southeast Europe 2018 (OCTA SEE 2018), the most comprehensive strategic report drafted by SELEC, developed with the essential support of our Member States, covering a period of 5 years.

OCTA SEE is a qualitative assessment, a strategic report illustrating the current situation and trends, identifying threats in SELEC Member States, highlighting vulnerabilities and opportunities revealed by various types of crime.

All the information shared by the Member States as well as the data available in SELEC endorse the conclusion that crime has stepped up in complexity over time, while technology, mainly the Internet, has changed the face of crime forever. From drug trafficking to money laundering, the report’s motto “crime steers online” applies today to all the major crime areas.

The report intends to cast more light on the understanding of crime, while supporting the decision-making bodies in further translating ideas into national/regional strategic priorities, goals and operational action plans.

OCTA SEE is for law enforcement and judicial use only; the public version of its key findings shall be soon available on our website.