German-Kosovan exchange of expertise on the fight against money laundering

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ

As part of an online seminar hosted by the Kosovan Academy of Justice, IRZ organised an expert discussion on the fight against money laundering on 2 June 2021. The German-Kosovan exchange of experiences took place on the second day of the event with the participation of around 25 Kosovan judges and public prosecutors.

In the context of financial liberalisation and growing transnational crime, the fight against money laundering has cross-border significance. Dealing effectively with money laundering on a global scale also requires an intensive and continuous exchange of expertise between legal practitioners.

In this context, the event continued the exchange of experiences on the fight against money laundering, which had begun in 2020 in cooperation with the Kosovan Academy of Justice. Senior Public Prosecutor Wolf-Tilman Baumert and Public Prosecutor Christian Müller, both from the Wuppertal Public Prosecutor's Office, took part in the discussion as IRZ experts. In particular, they presented the amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act, which came into force in March 2021 to regulate money laundering offences in Germany. The event also focussed on the following topics:

  • acquisition offences and types of money laundering crimes
  • the tracing of defrauded assets
  • the return of incriminated assets / confiscation orders
  • mutual legal assistance and international cooperation in money laundering investigations

The Kosovan participants in the discussions were Valon Kurtaj, a judge at the Court of First Instance in Pristina, and Behar Xhema, deputy director of the Kosovan Financial Intelligence Unit, leading to a lively legal comparison and mutual exchange of expertise and experience.

The event was financed by the German Foreign Office. IRZ plans to continue its cooperation with the Academy of Justice in this area and to cover further important subjects in the area of criminal law and the prison system.

Online events on probation services and prison management

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ

During the last quarter of 2020, the cooperation between IRZ and the Ministry of Justice of Kosovo concentrated on the areas of probation services and prison management. The main focus was on how the relevant authorities work together to provide probation services, the explanation of the advantages of suspended sentencing with probation, and the specific issues surrounding juvenile detention. IRZ has also succeeded in using the online format to expand on the existing trusting working relationship, which pays particular attention to the area of juvenile criminal law.

In cooperation with the department for probation services and regional probation offices, three separate online round table discussions were held with different participant groups in the regions of Pristina, Prizren and Mitrovica. These events allowed for a broad exchange of experiences and also took the regional particularities in Kosovo into account. The round table discussions covered the following topics, amongst others:

  • the function and role of probation
  • specific features of the application of probation in juvenile criminal law
  • the supervision of probation in practice: cooperation between judges, public prosecutors and probation services

IRZ was represented by the following experts from the relevant professional groups:

  • Alexander Conrad, a judge at the Local Court of Oberhausen
  • Michael Grunwald, a senior public prosecutor at the Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office
  • Stefan Thier from the department of social services for justice, support for ex-offenders and accommodation offering therapy at the Ministry of Justice, Europe and Consumer Protection for the state of Schleswig-Holstein

This combination of experts led to a comprehensive, detailed and practice-oriented exchange with Kosovan colleagues. 

Online seminars on “young people in the prison system”

At the express request of the department for prison management at the Ministry of Justice of Kosovo, two online seminars were held on “Dealing with young drug addicts” and “Dealing with young people with psychiatric problems”.

Both events were led by an experienced team of experts appointed by IRZ:

  • Katja Liebmann, Head of social therapy at the largest juvenile detention centre in Germany at Hameln,
  • Siegfried Löprick, Chairman of the youth welfare service, Jugendhilfe Göttingen e.V., with many years of experience in working with the prison management system in Kosovo.

Both seminars featured an open exchange involving all participants and lively, comprehensive discussions.