Marking, tracing, and record-keeping of SALW has been a lynchpin of SEESAC’s work from the very beginning. This will continue under the new phase of the SEESAC project, with a focus on improving the capabilities of local authorities to keep, enhance and digitalize records and facilitating regional cooperation.
In addition, support has been provided to the forensics departments of the law enforcement authorities which will assist analyses in firearms-related investigations.
Activities are designed in line with, and will therefore enhance the implementation of the UN Programme of Action, the International Tracing Instrument, the UN Firearms Protocol, the Council Directive 91/477/EEC, as well as the Common Position 2008/944/CFSP.
REGIONAL FIREARMS EXPERT NETWORK WORKSHOPS
To enable knowledge and information exchange in the region, SEESAC has facilitated the South East Europe Firearms Expert Network (SEEFEN) since 2013. SEEFEN consists of 21 senior expert representatives of the Police Directorates, Customs Administrations, and the Public Prosecutors’ Offices in SEE who meet regularly to discuss how to combat the illicit proliferation of firearms. SEEFEN meetings encourage not only regional cooperation, but also stronger cooperation with the EU, its Member States, and specialized EU agencies such as EUROPOL, and key international actors such as INTERPOL and the World Customs Organization.
In the new phase of the project, SEESAC will continue to organize SEEFEN meetings (twice yearly). In addition, targeted training and technical advisory support will be provided to the experts. SEESAC will also procure equipment, such as import marking machines for law-enforcement agencies.
To date, six Regional Meetings of SEEFEN have been held. For more information on these meetings, please see:
First SEEFEN Meeting: 23-24 September 2014, Durres
Second SEEFEN Meeting: 19-20 May 2015, Belgrade
Third SEEFEN Meeting: 26-27 November 2015, Budva
Fourth SEEFEN Meeting: 19-21 April 2016, Sarajevo
Fifth SEEFEN Meeting: 27 – 28 September 2016, Chisinau
Sixth SEEFEN Meeting: 8-9 December 2016, Budva
THE SEEFEN ONLINE KNOWLEDGE-SHARING PLATFORM
SEESAC has established an online knowledge-sharing platform in order to provide a secure forum for open discussion, as well as the exchange of various legal, technical, and practical information that could help firearms experts in their daily work. The platform is continually being updated and improved.
FIREARMS FOCAL POINTS
In all seven beneficiaries, SEESAC is supporting the establishment of firearms focal points — central information collection and analysis units that support investigators and prosecutors, and enable the building and updating of the intelligence picture on firearms trafficking from and through SEE.
IMPROVEMENT OF FORENSICS AND MARKING AND TRACING SYSTEMS
Through a mixture of training and technical-level assistance, re-enforced by normative and institutional analyses, the project is supporting the enhancement of capabilities for SALW marking, tracing, record-keeping and investigating in SEE. The procurement of marking machines contributes to the establishment of effective marking systems. SEESAC will work closely with Interpol's iArms in order to support the capacity of SEE police services to collect, process and share data on lost or stolen SALW. The previous work done on enhancing registration systems and ballistic intelligence capabilities will be built upon, incorporating the recommendations of the Regional Feasibility Study on Linking Small Arms and Light Weapons Registration Systems in South East Europe.
This is a continuation of previous activities during which SEESAC assisted SEE beneficiaries in implementing their legal and political commitments in the area of marking and tracing firearms. An overview of these efforts is available here.
*References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).