Annex V to BS/WGCC&LONCC/R(2021)1
PLAN OF ACTION OF THE WORKING GROUP
OF THE ORGANIZATION OF THE BLACK SEA ECONOMIC COOPERATION (BSEC) ON COOPERATION IN COMBATING CRIME, PARTICULARLY IN ITS ORGANIZED FORMS
THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION IS THE COUNTRY-COORDINATOR
The Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) is a regional economic organization whose activity, according to the Charter, is aimed at strengthening mutual respect and confidence, dialogue and cooperation among the Member States; development and diversification of bilateral and multilateral cooperation on the basis of principles and norms of the international law (Chapter 2, Article 3 of the BSEC Charter). The BSEC Member States affirm the striving for constructive and fruitful cooperation in various fields in order to turn the Black Sea region into a region of peace, stability and prosperity.
Occupying a strategic geopolitical location, the Black Sea region is a corridor for illegal migration and crime. In this regard in 1998 on the island of Corfu the Ministers of the Interior of the BSEC Member States signed the International Agreement on Cooperation in Combating Crime, Particularly in Its Organized Forms. This Agreement, signed between governments of the BSEC Member States on October 2, 1998, pursued the cooperation in combating illegal trafficking narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors, terrorism, smuggling of weapons and other forms of transnational organized crime. The Agreement came into force in 1999.
Practically, the said Agreement is implemented in information and experience exchange, coordination of actions in combating crimes, personnel training for law enforcement agencies, joint meetings and consultations.
Cooperation in combating crime was institutionally strengthened in 2002, when the Liaison Officers Network was established (approved by 2002 Additional protocol to the Agreement on Cooperation in Combating Crime).
Modern technical and technological achievements, originally designed to make the life of society more comfortable, are currently often used for criminal purposes. For example, criminal groups actively take advantage of the Internet, including Darknet, e-payment systems and cryptocurrencies, postal and courier delivery services and other technical means and services.
The technical features used when working on the Internet include anonymization and encryption of information, which allow members of the criminal community to cooperate, eliminating the need for personal contacts, as well as effectively cover up the signs of their activities in the Internet, their identity and location, that significantly complicates the work of law enforcement agencies.
These opportunities are highly demanded in extremism propaganda and attracting new followers to extremist and terrorist organizations.
One of important components of illegal activity in the online space is manipulation in the field of crime proceeds laundering, including with the use of cryptocurrencies.
Expanding of the use of digital financial assets by criminals significantly complicates the tracking of financial flows affiliated with criminal groups.
This is the first time in modern history when the epidemiological situation, caused by the spread of the new coronavirus infection COVID-19, is critical, what has led modern civilization to a high level of morbidity and mortality, as well as global economic instability.
The spread of the virus has led not only to deterioration in the social sphere, but also to changes in the criminal situation. A global trend is the fact that changes in the life of citizens and organizations caused by the implementation of restrictive anti-epidemic measures have had a significant impact on the dramatic increase in the number of crimes committed using information and communication technologies (hereinafter the ICT).
In particular, a manyfold increase in users of online services, including vulnerable categories of persons, for example, the elderly, who are not sufficiently aware of the methods of illegal acts on the Internet, contributed to the growth of extortion, theft and fraudulent activities, as well as the spread of malware through spam messages.
Due to dynamic development of criminal organizations activities the law enforcement agencies should promptly find efficient methods to counter new challenges, exchange work experience, develop and implement appropriate tools in everyday practice.
We note that combating crimes committed with the use ICT is on the agenda of the United Nations. In accordance with the resolution of the UN General Assembly № 74/247 of December 27, 2019, a special international open-ended committee of experts was instituted which represents all the regions. It was established for the development of comprehensive international convention on combating the use of ICT for criminal purposes, and it takes into full consideration the existing international instruments and efforts at the national, regional and international levels to combat the use of ICT for criminal purposes.
General objectives in accordance with the BSEC Economic Agenda. Strengthening of the BSEC partnership:
- strengthening of cross-border cooperation between the competitive authorities of the BSEC Member States in combating organized criminal activity;
- analysis and improving of the operation mechanism of focal points and the BSEC Liaison Officers Network for Combating Crime, that are created in the framework of the BSEC;
- information exchange on the state and measures of combating crime;
- countering extremist activities, as well as suppressing channels for smuggling extremist materials;
- assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on organized criminal activities, including those related to illegal migration, trafficking in person, illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors, and other crimes committed using ICT;
- preparation of overviews of transnational crime trends in the BSEC region;
- consideration of the possibility of organizing joint short-term events and special operations (including by the "controlled delivery" method) aimed at combating economic customs offenses, as well as suppressing channels for the smuggling of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors;
- current situation in the information space: analysis of the role of ICT in the field of organized crime. capacity-building for law enforcement cooperation in countering the use of ICT for criminal purposes;
- development of the cooperation with other regional and international organizations in the field of combating organized crime, corruption and terrorism and use of their experience.
Meetings of the Working Group
The Meeting of the BSEC Working Group on Combating Crime, Particularly in Its Organized Forms, will be held at least once a year (online format is possible).
Meetings in the framework of the BSEC Liaison Officers Network in Combating Crime
The Meeting of the BSEC Liaison Officers Network in Combating Crime will be organized once a year just after the meeting of the BSEC Working Group on Combating Crime, Particularly in Its Organized Forms (online format is possible).
The BSEC Member States are invited to make additional suggestions on events in the framework of the Working group (online format is possible), for example:
- expert meetings on certain issues of international cooperation, in accordance with the provisions of the BSEC Agreement on combating organized crime, and additional protocols to it (including on the issues of trafficking in person and illegal migration)
- on the issues of personnel training of law enforcement agencies of the BSEC Member States in various fields.
Cooperation with other BSEC bodies
The Working Group on Combating Crime, Particularly in Its Organized Forms, will interact with other BSEC working groups on issues of mutual interest.
Cooperation with the BSEC observers and partners
The Working Group on Combating Crime, Particularly in Its Organized Forms, will interact with the BSEC observers and sectoral dialogue partners when organizing joint events.
Cooperation with other international organizations
Ensuring cooperation (if necessary) of the Working Group on Combating Crime, Particularly in Its Organized Forms, with the international organizations, such as the UN and EU specialized agencies, and other international and regional organizations and institutions.