Justice and home affairs statistics systems in the Western Balkans

Strategic Theme: Policy and Trend Analysis/ Threat and risk analysis

Results Area: Enhanced capacity of Member States and the international community to formulate strategic responses to address emerging trends in drugs and crime

Overall Objective: The overall objective of the action is to strengthen the response to crime and corruption in countries of the Western Balkans by bringing national statistics mechanisms in justice and home affairs (JHA) institutions towards compliance with relevant international and EU acquis, standards and best practices.

Specific objective: The specific objective of the project is to assess and commence improvement of the collection, analysis and use of JHA statistics in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The primary JHA statistics of concern to the project are: (1) conventional crime, drug-related crime, and corruption-related crime statistics generated by the police, prosecution and court; (2) immigration/migration-related crime statistics generated by the police, border/customs police, prosecution and court; (3) organised crime statistics (including trafficking in persons, smuggling of migrants and money laundering) generated by the police, prosecution and court and financial institutions; (4) crime victimisation statistics derived from general population crime victim surveys; and (5) statistics on the nature and extent of corruption derived from general population, business/private sector, or public employee surveys. In addition, however, the project will include, where relevant: (6) asylum-related statistics generated by border control points and the responsible authority for asylum applications; and (7) migration and visa-related statistics generated by border control points, diplomatic missions, and Ministries for Foreign Affairs

Target Group: The target groups of the project are political decision makers and staff of justice and home affairs institutions. These include senior law enforcement officials, prosecutors, judges, and staff of ministries of interior, ministries of justice and national statistical offices. Staff of justice and home affairs institutions will benefit from support in the identification of strengths, weaknesses and gaps in existing systems for collection of justice and home affairs statistics. Training will focus on improved data collection both at the administrative level, such as through court records and police case files, and by the use of victimization surveys.

Beneficiaries: Where institutional mechanisms require individuals such as law enforcement officers, prosecutors or judges, to make specific written records and report data on individual cases, persons in contact with these institutions, these beneficiaries are less likely to 'slip through the net', to experience acts of corruption, or to be treated outside of the rule of law. Society at large should benefit from the project where the analysis and use of crime-related statistics leads to effective crime prevention activities, anti-corruption initiatives, increased regional cooperation in the area of crime and criminal justice, and evidence-led policing." An important outcome of the project should, as a result, be increased respect for the fundamental rights of persons who are in contact, or who may come into contact with justice and home affairs institutions, either as victims or witnesses of crime, as asylum or visa applicants, or as persons suspected, arrested, prosecuted or convicted of a crime.

The project pursues a partnership approach that fosters national ownership of the process of research, development of guidelines and training. An advisory steering committee, consisting of one senior justice and home affairs representative from each country or territory takes responsibility for the overall direction of country guidelines, for the development of regional indicators, and for the identification of specific training needs.

The benchmarks for success include those described by international standards, such as the European Union Action Plan on developing a European strategy to measure crime and criminal justice and the United Nations Manual on the Development of a System of Criminal Justice Statistics, together with the ability of participant countries to effectively report comparable statistics at the international and regional level. Combined with the development of regional indicators, the project should lead to both enhanced knowledge of trends in specific crime and corruption issues, and an enhanced capacity of participant countries and the international community to formulate strategic responses to emerging trends in crime and corruption.

Project sustainability is supported by the fact that project activities aim to bring participating countries and territories towards European standards in the field of justice and home affairs statistics as part of the wider European Union activities in the Western Balkans.

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