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Italy’s support to OSCE training activities in the Western Balkans on forged documents

From 2017 to 2021, Italy contributed to the OSCE Transnational Threats Department’s project “Advanced Training Courses on Increasing Operational Awareness to Detected Forged Documents and Imposters for South Eastern Europe” aiming at helping OSCE participating States in the Western Balkans to reduce the number of individuals crossing borders with the help of forged or counterfeit identity documents.

Improving the operational capabilities of border police officers in detecting forged documents and imposters, while fully respecting human rights norms, is crucial to bringing to justice those who assume false identities in order to plan or carry out criminal or terrorist acts. The constant diversification and refinement of forgery techniques also make it essential to continuously update the personnel on duty at border crossings.

This is the purpose of the courses organized by the OSCE as part of the project, with the financial support of Italy, the United States and Canada and in close cooperation with experts from the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI).

The project resulted in the organization of 13 advanced courses and specialized training for 211 participants from the police forces of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. Each participant received a sophisticated portable device for examining identity documents and detecting irregularities. This equipment was donated by the OSCE and purchased through financial support provided by Italy and the United States.

To ensure sustainability and local ownership of the expertise provided, some of the courses focused on instructors training. Sustainability of activities in the long term was also ensured through the inclusion of specific modules on document security within the curricula of police academies and through providing high-quality technical equipment, as in the case of the Agency for Education and Professional Training (AEPTM) in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.