The OSCE held an online national workshop for Bosnia and Herzegovina on the social re-use of confiscated assets on 21 December 2020. More than 20 representatives from prosecutions’ offices, law enforcement, asset management agencies and civil society organizations participated in the event.
The workshop, organized by the Office of the Coordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities (OCEEA) and the Transnational Threats Department (TNTD), aimed at building knowledge and raising awareness among civil society and policy makers on the possibility of re-using assets confiscated from organized crime for social purposes and the benefits this practice brings to the society. One of the main goals of the workshop is to promote the involvement of civil society organizations in the prevention of and fight against organized crime and corruption.
“In Bosnia and Herzegovina, a functioning institutional and legal framework covering all levels of authority is needed to enable more efficient and effective use of asset recovery measures in criminal proceedings, especially in organized crime and corruption cases,” stated Kathleen Kavalec, Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH, when delivering opening remarks.
While the sale of confiscated assets is the most common practice, the social re-use can be a meaningful tool for promoting a culture of legality and giving back to societies what organized crime and corruption have deprived them of. The Italian Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nicola Minasi, highlighted that the social re-use of properties confiscated from criminal organizations has a great social impact, as it demonstrates that the rule of law and societies win. “However, it is crucial for prosecution offices, law enforcement and civil society organizations to co-operate for this common cause.”
Participants at the workshop discussed the legal framework in BiH enabling social re-use of assets confiscated from criminal activity; presented international best practices on how assets confiscated from organized crime can be re-used for social purposes; and exchanged views on current challenges and ways forward in this specific field.
The Chief Prosecutor of the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Hercegovina, Gordana Tadic, thanked the OSCE for supporting prosecutors first in their work on war crimes, then in combating corruption and economic crime, and now helping to guarantee that BiH sees the results of previous work through social re-use of confiscated assets.
The virtual workshop was organized within the framework of the OSCE extra budgetary project on “Strengthening the fight against transnational organized crime in South-Eastern Europe through improved regional co-operation in asset seizure, confiscation, management and re-use” funded by the United States Department of State, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom. It is part of a series of national workshops on social re-use in the South-Eastern Europe.