On December 5th and 6th The Siracusa International Institute hosts the 1st High-Level Regional Strategic Dialogue (RSD) on Illicit Trade in South Eastern Europe. The RSD is organised within the framework of the Institute’s two-year research and capacity-building project, ‘Strengthening the Fight Against Illicit Trade in South Eastern Europe’ (or SEE-IMPACT),which is supported by PMI IMPACT, a global grant initiative of Philip Morris International to support projects dedicated to fighting illicit trade and related crimes.


SEE-IMPACT’s RSD is the first of its kind in the world. It reflects the commitment of government leaders, policy-makers and criminal justice officials across South Eastern Europe to address illicit trade as a serious threat to peace and security, public health and safety, as well as to sustainable development, environment and legitimate business. More specifically, the RSD aims to:

  • build knowledge and awareness about illicit trade as a multi-faceted threat requiring both whole-of-Government and whole-of-society approaches;

  • highlight the importance of incorporating a cross-sectoral perspective in efforts to combat illicit trade at the national and international levels;

  • draw on the expertise of national leaders and policy-makers in developing a more comprehensive understanding of regional strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the fight against illicit trade;

  • strengthen collaboration and cooperation between national and international leaders and policy-makers



Participants at the RSD include Ms. Renata Deskoska, Ministry of Justice, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Mr. Besfort Lamallari, Albanian Deputy Minister of Interior, Mr. Milko BernerBulgarian Deputy Minister of Interior,  and Mr. Augustin Lazar, Romanian General Prosecutor. Participants were welcomed this morning by Judge Jean-François Thony, President of the Institute and Mr. Filippo Musca, Acting Director General, followed by the Keynote Address, which was given by Jean-Claude Brunet, French Ambassador-at-Large and Special Envoy for Transnational Criminal Threats.

The two-day programme involves ten working sessions and features presentations by Mr. Tobias Freeman, Senior Legal Officer of the Institute, by the Institute’s Senior Advisors, Mr. John Sellar OBE and Mr. Stefano Betti, and by the following officials:

  • Tim Morris, Executive Director, INTERPOL;

  • Leigh Winchell, former Deputy Director of Enforcement and Compliance, World Customs Organization;

  • Snejana Maleeva, Director General, Southeast European Law Enforcement Center;

  • Brian Donald, Chief of Staff to the Executive Director, Europol; and

  • Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Director of Policy Affairs and Public Information, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.