USAID JP delivers trainig on PGI to 30 national prosecutors working on corruption cases

Prosecutor Guided Investigations

Published on: September 16, 2015
USAID's Justice Project organized a two day workshop on prosecutor guided investigations (PGI) for all prosecutors working on corruption, economic and organized crime cases in the four partner Prosecutor Offices (POs) (Zenica, Tuzla, Istočno Sarajevo and Doboj). The event was attended by 30 prosecutors and expert staff from all four jurisdictions. Experts teaching at this two day event were Hajrija Sijerčić Čolić, PhD, a professor of criminal procedure law at the Sarajevo Law School, and Mr. Michael Cunniff, a law professor, lawyer and former federal agent from the US with over 30 years of practical experience in law enforcement working and leading complex investigations on drug trafficking, and multinational and organized crime.

Professor Čolić presented to the national prosecutors the findings of a five year research into the cooperation between police and prosecution services in BiH, as well as theoretical findings on criminological aspects of discovering and investigating modern forms of economic crime and corruption. She gave a comparative analysis of different regional approaches in effectively planning investigations in corruption and economic crime related cases. Professor Čolić also presented findings from the research of statistical data, showing the level of efficiency of the criminal judiciary of BiH in the cases of corruption and economic crime.

At the workshop, Mr. Cunniff provided an introduction to the concept of prosecutor-guided investigations that he had applied during his work as a federal agent and law practioner on corruption related cases, both of which brought him into immediate contact with all forms of corruption and organized crime. Participants worked on specifically designed cases which were aimed to simulate the use of organization and analysis of criminal cases, including careful planning and conducting a methodical investigation, as the keys to a successful prosecution. Special attention was given to the importance of conducting investigations as a team effort that involves both prosecutors and law enforcement officers, and how the police can play a role in a prosecutor guided investigation.

The most important goal of this workshop was to introduce participating prosecutors to an approach to prosecutor guided investigations that uses evidence based forms, and the templates and analytical tools designed to strengthen prosecutorial capacities as well as the capacities of the police and expert associates who work on conducting corruption related investigations.

To achieve this objective, the workshop was conducted as an interactive event presenting at least three different perspectives in the process: the prosecution, the police and the expert associate. Its interactive nature provided each participant the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in using specially designed reports on investigation through a case study. Successful implementation of this model will lead to increased public trust in prosecutors and police due to the resulting increase in the number of cases with a positive outcome.

During this interactive forum, using realistic cases studies, prosecutors were able to apply different techniques of legal analysis and argumentation and apply them on practical aspects of investigative measures which leads to clear, logical and acceptable findings in the reports on serious crime cases.

In reviewing the workshop, participants unanimously agreed that this event was organized in a way to cover the most important theoretical and practical aspects of work on criminal cases of corruption and economic crime. Prosecutors specifically emphasized that the analytical and organizational tools for strategic planning and conducting investigations in complex cases that were demonstrated and applied during the workshop would be useful in their future work on these cases.

This professional training event is a continuation of similar activities which USAID's Justice Project has conducted in the past and which it aims to offer to other national prosecutors working on corruption cases over the course of the Project.

USAID's Justice Project is a five year rule of law initiative which is focused on strengthening BiH's capacities to fight corruption and organized crime. Through professional training such as this, the Justice Project will aim at increasing the capacity of prosecutors, both individually and institutionally, to fight corruption and other high profile cases, such as abuse of office or complex forms of economic crime.

Our on-site training and mentoring to prosecutorial managers and front-line prosecutors in charge of corruption and serious crime cases are all designed to assist prosecutors in improving prosecution skills that lead to convictions of high profile corruption cases.

The Project works with all 19 national prosecutor offices in BiH, and all its activities are aligned with the strategic goals of key actors in the judiciary such HJPC BiH, relevant ministries, prosecutor offices and other international donors and stakeholders.