Combating and preventing illicit trafficking in artworks (basic training)

10/09/2021

The Agency for Education and Professional Training organized, with the professional support of OSCE mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Directorate for Coordination of Police Bodies in Bosnia and Herzegovina (INTERPOL Office), a specialist training ' Combatting and preventing illicit trafficking in artworks' on 8-10 September 2021. The training was an opportunity for police officers of SIPA, Brčko Distict Police, BiH Federation Police Directorate, BiH Border Police and Indirect Taxation Authoritry to improve competencies and gain new knowledge while working on crimes related to illicit trafficking in artworks,  

Lecturers of the Agency for Education and Professional Training along with  INTERPOL representative Verica Trbović, representative of the Centre against trafficking  in works of art, Dženan Jusufović, and Sanja Fitzerald on behalf of the OSCE Mission to  BiH had the major role in the implementation of this training course.

Considering art as a good investment led to the increasing number of art-related crimes. How profitable this group of crimes is can best be illustrated by the fact that, at a global level, illicit trade in artworks is very close to illicit trade in weapons and narcotics. This issue,  given its complexity and tendency to become a growing  international problem, is getting the dimensions of organised crime. The lecturers underlined that in the global sense illicit trade in artworks had not been paid enough attention to. The investigators tasked to work on these cases  often  lack  relevant qualifications and knowledge. Bearing in mind the global character of this problem, and the fact that there are preventive measures in place and systematic approaches to tackling other problems, like illegal drug trade, the protection of artworks and antiquities is quite lagging behind.  Hence, this specialist training, which received very good evaluations from the police officers, is expected to trigger a more systematic approach of the institutuions to facilitating professional development of police officers in fighting illicit trade of artworks.

Marko Vujević, Director of the Agency for Education and Professional Training, stated he 'believes the training has been efficient'. He thanked  everyone for participating, adding that 'the intention of the agency is to organize in future high-level specialist trainings about problems of illicit trade in artworks, in accordance with the needs of security agencies. When security agencies communicate their needs  foir specialist training programmes, the Agency, in accordance with its capacities and staff availability and experts from national institutions and international organizations is trying to meet those needs.  ' After this basic training about combatting and preventing illicit trade in artworks,  we will work to develop advanced programmes in the interest of both police agencies and  our Agency,  as the institution responsible for education', Vujević concluded.