Improving the Status and Use of Financial Forensic Experts in Criminal Proceedings in Serbia
November 9, 2020
On November 5, USAID Government Accountability Initiative (GAI) held an online presentation of the Comparative Legal Study on the Role of Forensic Accountants in Financial Investigations for the representatives of the Supreme Court of Cassation, the Republic Prosecutors Office, specialized anti-corruption units of higher courts and PPOs, the Anti-Money Laundering Directorate, as well as members of the local Chapter of Certified Fraud Examiners and private sector.
GAI commissioned a comparative legal analysis by Professor Rob McCusker, International Organized Crime Expert, on the use of financial forensics in legal systems comparable to Serbia, in order to increase attention by the courts and prosecutors to the benefits of use of such experts in adversarial proceedings. The analysis examined Serbian legislation and practices related to the position of expert witnesses, professional con
sultants, and forensic accountants with recommendations for refinement to the Serbian normative framework. Financial forensic expertise has proven crucial to investigation and successful prosecution of economic corruption offences in other legal jurisdictions, especially to aid prosecutors’ dissection of complex financial transactions.
Following presentation of the comparative analysis, highly interactive roundtable discussion, (involving all participants), provided insight into how forensic accountants are currently conducting their work and other practical advice on how public prosecution can enhance their engagement in the investigation and trial phases.
Participants agreed on a set of recommendations to advance greater use of financial forensics in complex financial criminal cases in Serbia, to improve use of the financial forensic report as evidence before the court, and to allow for financial forensic experts to be considered as the equivalent to a subject matter expert as currently recognized in the country’s criminal proceedings.