UNODC Supports Development of New Legislation on Confiscation and Management of Stolen Assets in Bosnia and Herzegovina

23 May 2023, Neum, Bosnia and Herzegovina: In March 2023, the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) adopted a new Strategy for Countering Organized Crime for the period 2023-2026 developed with support from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and based on its Organized Crime Strategy Toolkit for Developing High-Impact Strategies. Seizing and confiscating criminal proceeds is one of the key objectives of the new strategy and in line with that objective, the Ministry of Justice of Bosnia and Herzegovina is currently coordinating an inter-institutional working group to draft a new law on confiscation and management of stolen assets.

The working group met in Neum to review a first draft of the proposed law. “The development of this law is an important step to fast-track implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), which provides a framework for the recovery, return and disposal of stolen assets”, said Mr. Koen Marquering, Programme Officer at the UNODC Regional Office for South-Eastern Europe and Head of Secretariat for the Regional Anti-Corruption and Illicit Finance Roadmap.

The meeting gathered staff and experts from various ministries, court and prosecution at State level, as well as various ministries and asset management agencies at entity level. The new law will cover the procedures for financial investigations and the seizure and confiscation of stolen assets based on judgements by the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina and establish a framework for the management of these assets. The possibility for confiscated assets to be used for social, humanitarian and other public use is also foreseen in the draft law.

Together with Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo[1], Bosnia and Herzegovina is an active participant in the Regional Anti-Corruption and Illicit Finance Roadmap. Endorsed in 2021, this Roadmap supports the Western Balkans jurisdictions with UNCAC implementation and is anchored in the Berlin Process, which aims to improve regional cooperation and advance European integration.

Ongoing UNODC engagement in the Western Balkans within the framework of the Regional Anti-Corruption and Illicit Finance Roadmap includes the development of fast action response guides on asset recovery processes and dialogue on coordination in the investigation of corruption cases as part of a new regional component of UNODC’s Global Operational Network of Anti-Corruption Law Enforcement Authorities (GlobE Network).

In Bosnia and Herzegovina UNODC has also been building the capacity of various government, law enforcement and judicial stakeholders involved in the asset recovery process. In addition to training, this year the focus has been on the development of a strategy and action plan on asset recovery for the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

UNODC facilitates the development of the draft Law on Confiscation and Management of Stolen Assets in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as other capacity development and dialogue to support the implementation of the Regional Anti-Corruption and Illicit Finance Roadmap, generously funded the Government of the United Kingdom.

[1] All references to Kosovo should be understood in the context of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999)