Police Experiences in the Implementation of Investigation in Slovenia
3. Establishing Specialised Investigation Teams
As a part of the project, amendments to the Art. 160 of the CPC were prepared. Article. 160a en-ables the prosecutor to manage the joint efforts of the state authorities and institutions whose scope of activities includes taxes, customs operations, financial transactions, securities, protec-tion against anti-competitive conduct, prevenprotec-tion of money laundering and corrupprotec-tion, fight against the abuse of narcotics without a written order to establish specialised investigation teams (hereinafter SIT). At that stage, since less complex cases are involved, an initial agreement on joint investigation for a longer period of time is unnecessary. Should the competent prosecutor decide the case is more complex and requires a coordinated effort of several institutions over a prolonged period of time, he may order a SIT to be established which is to be led by the prosecu-tor. The provisions on the rules of the establishment of joint investigation teams include the pro-visions on the cooperation of the State Attorney’s Office, the police and other competent author-ities and institutions with regard the process of detection and prosecution of criminal offenders
7 The author of this article was appointed as the project manager by the Government of the Republic of Slovenia.
and the operation of specialised joint investigation teams.8 The provision which was passed after Art. 160 of the CPC had already been passed allows the State Attorney General to establish a SIT by a written decision/order ex officio or at the motion of the prosecutor (State Attorney) in charge of the case in question or at a written request by the police. When the State Attorney General re-ceives a written request, he notifies the representatives of the authorities and institutions who are expected to cooperate with the SIT. If the request is granted, along with a written notification, the Chief State Attorney shall send to the representative of the authority or institution a proposal of a written decision/order containing a list of team members who are to form a SIT. The representa-tive of the said authority or institution must inform the Office of the State Attorney General with-in three days whether they agree (with-includwith-ing the data on the communication with specific officers who are to be involved) or refuse to cooperate. If the representative of the authority refuses to cooperate with the State Attorney’s Office, the competent minister must be notified thereof. The State Attorney’s Office in such a case informs the Attorney General and the Minister responsi-ble for the judiciary. The Minister responsiresponsi-ble for the judiciary may request that the Government should decide on the legality of the said Authority’s or Institution’s refusal to cooperate. The writ-ten decision on the establishment of SIT defines its purpose, specifies the authorities that are to be involved, tasks, who is going to lead the team, who is going to be the operations officer and his tasks, members of the SIT and their tasks, work procedures and time frame for its operations.
Specialised Investigation Team shall operate according to a schedule which may be supplement-ed as the investigation progresses. It is vital that the members of the SIT and their representatives are assigned the task set before the team as their first priority in order to ensure unimpeded oper-ation of the SIT. Similarly, other authorities and institutions and other prosecutor’s offices as well as police units must assist the SIT when necessary. Furthermore, since the SIT is led by the State Attorney, other participants must provide the State Attorney with all of the information and doc-umentation, which then become a part of the prosecution file (Bobnar, 2013)
In the beginning, after the SIT was first regulated, there was little interest for establishing such teams. The reason was the negative perception by the representatives of the institutions and au-thorities that this just additionally increases the workload of the employees and adds more ad-ministrative work. However, it was soon proven in practice that this was not the case and that the use of SITs actually reduces the amount of bureaucracy involved (Deželak, 2012). Vast knowl-edge and experience that the members of SITs have in their respective fields and constructive ex-change of information results in both faster and more efficient operation in the process of un-covering the most serious types of criminal offences. The knowledge and experience is shared within the team and by working together the members have the opportunity to get acquainted more closely with the field of expertise of other members of the SIT.
Considering that SITs investigate the most serious criminal offences, their organisation puts their investigation as priority. Since the operation is led by and coordinated with the State Attorney, motions for the issuance of authorisation by the court are processed faster, because they are typ-ically better prepared and do not require amendments. Certain difficulties have been identi-fied in practice with regard to the operations of SITs. Occasionally, the issue of assigning highly
8 Art. 24 through 29 of the Decree on the Involvement of the State Attorney’s Office, the Police and other Appropriate State Authorities and Institutions in the Detection and Prosecution of Perpetrators of Criminal Offences and the Operations of Specialised Investigation Teams, Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, no. 84/10.
motivated and specialised professionals to SITs by the authorised person arises. It is well-known that every organisation or institution is reluctant to give up their hardest working employees be-cause they need them to ensure the work of the said authority or institution is more successful and their involvement in the SIT for several months would deprive their employer of their ser-vices. Members of the SIT may feel frustrated or “unhealthy rivalry” may arise in terms of which individual member or which institution is more important for the work of the SIT. It is therefore the role of the State Attorney to be a good leader and manage and head the members of the SIT in such a way that such negative incidents are eliminated as much as possible. Although it may sound unimportant, successful operation of the SIT is helped by the fact that the team is work-ing together on the same premises. These premises must have access to databases of the institu-tions whose representatives are cooperating with the SIT. Thus, the members of the team are able to obtain the necessary data within the scope of legal competencies for the purposes of the inves-tigation according to the principle “one stop office”. In addition, this means the members of the SIT directly exchange information and participate in the investigation which ensures increased efficiency of their operations.
The prosecutor (State Attorney) assumes the function of the team leader by setting up the SIT and together with the operations officer he is responsible for its operations. As the dominus li-tis, the prosecutor de lege and de facto leads and manages the course of the investigation and the team. Namely, the State Attorney is able to manage the police work well only if his information is reliable and recent, which often is not the case. When SIT is set up, the State Attorney is al-lowed to have at his disposal at any given moment experts in specific fields – such as taxes, cus-toms, securities, protection against anti-competitive behaviour, prevention of money laundering and corruption etc. On the other hand the members of the SIT are enabled to investigate as ex-perts in different fields in a coordinated fashion throughout the preliminary investigation. It is crucial that the members of the SIT have the original authorisation under law at the time they are assigned to the SIT which they are to exercise during the investigation (Deželak, 2012). Since the purpose of the preliminary investigation is to clarify the suspicion that a criminal offence has been committed to such an extent that the State Attorney is able to decide if he should charge the suspect, temporarily defer the prosecution or desist from prosecution, the establishment of the SIT is undoubtedly an instrument which enables the prosecutor to do this in a relatively short amount of time and in such a way that if the charging document is filed, he would be able to ar-gue the case successfully at the main hearing. However, on the other hand it may be concluded that the possibility of establishing SIT pursuant to the CPC of the Republic of Slovenia is just a gradual step towards the reform of the preliminary investigation and the transfer of the investi-gation into the hands of the State Attorney. It is our opinion that it would take many more grad-ual steps not only in terms of changing the legal framework but also (or especially) in terms of strengthening human and institutional resources in order to secure efficient and successful trans-fer of the investigation into the hands of the State Attorney’s offices in the Republic of Slovenia.
• Bobnar, T., Delovanje specializiranih preiskovalnih skupin kot (nov) izziv pri preiskovannju gos-podarske kriminalitete, Revija za kriminalistiko in kriminologijo, Letnik 64/2, pp. 163-168, Ljubljana, 2013
• Deželak, M., Specializirane preiskovalne skupine v praksi, Pravna praksa, 31 (14), pp. 15-17, Ljubljana, 2013
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• Jevšek, A., Osnivanje Nacionalnog istražnog ureda u Sloveniji, kao odgovor na savremene – nekonvencionalne oblike kriminaliteta, Revija za kriminalistiko in kriminologijo, letnik 61, no.3, pp. 307 – 314, Ljubljana, 2010
• Mozetič, P., Normativna podlaga policijskega dela: sistem dokaznih standardov v (pred) ka-zenskem postopku, in: (Matjaž Jager, Katja Šugman, Primož Gorkič): Policija, državni tožilci in uspešnost preiskovanja kaznivih dejanj: izbrani pravni in sistemski vidiki, Inštitut za krimi-nologijo pri Pravni Fakulteti v Ljubljani, pp. 24 – 56. Ljubljana, 2007
• Decree on the Involvement of the State Attorney’s Office, the Police and other Appropriate State Authorities and Institutions in the Detection and Prosecution of Perpatrators of Criminal Offences and the Operations of Speciliased Investigation Teams, Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, no. 84/10
• Criminal Procedure Code of the Republic of Slovenia, Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, no.63/1994 – 47/2013 Police Tasks and Powers Act (ZNPPol), Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, no. 15/2013 Žontar, M. (2009):
• Multidisciplinarni pristop in medinstitucionalno sodelovanje pri obravnavi zasvojenosti (mas-ter’s thesis). Fakulteta za družbene vede, Ljubljana, 2013
Vojislav Đurđić, PhD1