The Institute launches a new publication on the fight against illicit trade in South Eastern Europe


On Friday 6 November, The Siracusa International Institute for Criminal Justice and Human Rights will mark an important milestone for its three-year research and capacity-building project across South Eastern Europe, with the launch of a new report: Closing the Implementation Gap: Criminal justice responses to illicit trade in South Eastern Europe and associated challenges. This publication provides the first region-wide sketch of national criminal justice systems’ challenges and opportunities in tackling the phenomenon of illicit trade more holistically and elaborates a series of recommendations for national and regional leaders and policymakers.

Closing the Implementation Gap will be launched at an online event with several guest speakers, including Mr. Federico Cafiero De Raho, Italy’s National Anti-Mafia and Counter-Terrorism Prosecutor. Representatives from key national partners, and regional and international law enforcement and criminal justice bodies, will be in attendance.

This new report distils the main findings and recommendations that emerge from Strengthening the Fight against Illicit Trade in SEE (SEE: IMPACT), a project of the Siracusa International Institute. In its first phase, SEE:IMPACT mapped and assessed the implementation of criminal justice frameworks relating to the fight against illicit trade in 12 jurisdictions: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo,* Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey. The project’s central purpose was to identify practical challenges and obstacles for the criminal justice response to illicit trade in SEE, both country-specific challenges and those common to most, if not all, in the region. The project’s second phase was devoted to capacity-building for a broad spectrum of law enforcement, criminal justice and other relevant actors in seven jurisdictions.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, this launch will take place online. Attendees will be welcomed by Mr. Jean-François Thony, the Institute’s President, and Mr. Filippo Musca, Director General. Highlights from Closing the Implementation Gap will be offered by Mr. Tobias Freeman, Senior Legal Officer, with brief interventions from several project advisors. Further reflections and insights will be offered by Professor Paola Severino, the Institute’s Vice President, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office on combating corruption, and former Italian Minister of Justice. Regional perspectives on the way forward will be shared by Ambassador Uglijesa Ugi Zvekic, SEE:IMPACT’s Regional Advisor.

Commencing in September 2017, SEE IMPACT’s objectives are four-fold:

  • To identify practical challenges and obstacles affecting the criminal justice response to illicit trade at the national level.
  • To develop recommendations for enhancing the region’s overall response to illicit trade including through intensified cooperation between SEE countries and their EU counter­parts.
  • To build capacity among national law enforcement and criminal justice actors to tackle illicit trade as a cross-sectoral phenomenon.
  • To consolidate any lessons learned and good practices that have come to light in the fight against transnational crime networks in SEE.

The project was supported by PMI IMPACT, a global grant initiative by Philip Morris International that funds projects tackling illicit trade.

Full Report and Executive summaries of the report  are available below: