Promoting the rule of law and human security in South-Eastern Europe

Credit: FoNet1 April 2009 - On 30 and 31 March, a high-level regional conference took place in Belgrade on the promotion of justice and security in South-Eastern Europe. Senior representatives from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia signed a joint statement in which they confirmed their commitment to strengthening partnerships and mutual coordination with the aim of contributing to regional stability, justice and security for citizens of the region.

At the conference, opened by the Prime Minister of Serbia, participating States declared their resolve to coordinate respective national and regional responses in order to fight transnational threats such as organized crime, the trafficking in drugs and humans, the smuggling of migrants and firearms, money-laundering and the financing of terrorism, as well as the challenges of corruption, drug abuse and the spread of HIV/AIDS. They also agreed to strengthen the effectiveness and fairness of their criminal justice systems, consistent with United Nations and European Union conventions, protocols and relevant standards and norms.

Participants in the conference also endorsed the Programme on Promoting the Rule of Law and Human Security in South-Eastern Europe, which is based on three inter-linked pillars: serious crime and trafficking; integrity and criminal justice systems; and drug prevention and treatment, including HIV treatment and care. They underlined the need for technical assistance in these areas, for regional cooperation and for a monitoring mechanism for implementing the Programme.

In his opening address at the conference, UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa pointed out that, according to a UNODC report, although the Balkans had become one of the safest regions in Europe it remained vulnerable to corruption and organized crime. He urged States of the region to tackle these threats by implementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the United Nations Convention against Corruption. He stressed that implementation of the Programme "will lead to safer and healthier communities, and further enhance the image of this region among your European peers and the world".

UNODC Executive-Director's speech in Belgrade

Credit: FoNet

From left to right:

Mr. Mihajlo MANEVSKI, Minister of Justice (the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia)
Ms. Tatijana VUCETIC, State Secretary, Ministry of Justice (Croatia)
Mr. Mario NOBILO, Director, Multilateral Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Croatia)
Mr. Gent STRAZIMIRI, Deputy Minister of Interior (Albania)
Mr. Tarik SADOVIC, Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Minister of Security (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Mr. Ivica DACIC, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Interior (Serbia)
Mr. Antonio Maria COSTA, Executive Director (UNODC)
Mr. Mirko CVETKOVIC, Prime Minister (Serbia)
Ms. Nada VUKANIC, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs (Montenegro)
Mr. Tomica MILOSAVLJEVIC, Minister of Health (Serbia)
Mr. Wolfram MAAS, Ambassador to Serbia (Germany)