The role of prosecutors in the criminal justice response to counter firearms trafficking

9-10 November 2022, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC through its Global Firearms Programme (GFP) held a regional meeting on the role of prosecutors in criminal justice response to counter firearms trafficking. The objective of the meeting was to consider prosecutors’ competencies in addressing firearms-related offences and identify the measures for strengthening their role in the criminal justice system.

The two-day meeting gathered 50 representatives from prosecution services and law enforcement agencies from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia, as well as the prosecutors from the UK and the EU, and the Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) Roadmap Adviser of the German Federal Foreign Office.

The first day of the meeting focused on the domestic criminal legislation in the region and its shortfalls, the modalities to improve the exchange of information between the investigators and prosecutors, the contentious legal questions that are emerging in practice, and the challenges in the application of special investigative measures.

During the second day of the meeting, UNODC GFP Guidelines on the investigation and prosecution of firearms-related offences (Guidelines) were presented to criminal justice practitioners, and advice was sought for adapting the Guidelines to national material and procedural legal regimes. Additionally, the inclusion of the Guidelines in the curriculum of the Judicial Academies was discussed. 

The meeting participants also had an opportunity to reflect on UNODC GFP activities, aimed at implementing the SALW Roadmap in the Western Balkans, and identify the specific needs for technical assistance and equipment that is needed to effectively address firearms-related offences.

This activity is implemented with financial support provided by Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, France, the Netherlands, and Norway through the Western Balkans SALW Control Roadmap Trust Fund and supported by the European Union.