A two-day training course on the fight against smuggling and illegal trade in art and cultural property concluded on 26 July 2019 in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). The event was organized jointly by the OSCE Mission to BiH, the Centre for the Fight against Trafficking in Art and the Agency for Education and Professional Training of the BiH Ministry of Security.
The training course brought together representatives of law enforcement agencies from across BiH, the country’s Indirect Taxation Authority and Centres for Education of Judges and Prosecutors of Republika Srpska and the Federation of BiH.
“The main aim of the training course was to raise awareness and understanding on this particular subject matter to counter this criminal activity at the first and second lines of border checks, as well as to strengthen related investigative and prosecutorial capacities,” said Selma Zekovic, Acting Head of the Department of Security Co-operation of the OSCE Mission to BiH. “There is a need to improve inter-agency co-operation in responding to this problem in a systematic manner, including in co-ordination with relevant agencies in BiH, international organizations, the private sector and educational institutions,” Zekovic added.
“According to BiH stolen artwork database at the Centre for Fight against Trafficking in Art, authorities have been searching for 180 art works from the Tuzla International Gallery of Portraits, BiH Art Gallery, Eastern Bosnia Museum and Mulabdic private collection. The number of stolen works, according to the available information, is much higher. The list includes not only works of fine art, but also museum artefacts, manuscripts and archaeological findings illegally excavated on locations throughout BiH and sold on the black market,” stated Dženan Jusufović, President of the Centre for the Fight against Trafficking in Art.
Over the course of the two days, a wide array of topics related to smuggling and illegal trade of art was addressed, including the legislative framework, practical measures in prevention of art smuggling and the current state of art smuggling and illicit trade in the region. The Centre for the Fight against Trafficking in Art also presented the Manual on Export and Import of Art to Bosnia and Herzegovina, produced with the support of the OSCE Mission to BiH.