Geneva, 19 December 2019 – As reported by the UNCAC Coalition, award-winning Serbian journalist Stevan Dojčinović, founder and editor-in-chief of the Crime and Corruption Reporting Network (known locally as KRIK), was detained at Abu Dhabi International Airport on 18 December in the early morning. He was arriving in the United Arab Emirates to speak at a panel (‘New Approaches in Addressing Cross-Border Corruption, Money Laundering & Organised Crime’) co-hosted by Transparency International, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC) at the Conference of the States Parties (CoSP) to the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). He had an official invitation letter from United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and was registered to attend the conference as a member of the UNCAC Coalition’s delegation. After being detained for several hours, Dojčinović was put on a return flight to Serbia later the same day.

Dojčinović is a member of the GI-TOC’s Civil Society Observatory to Counter Organized Crime in South Eastern Europe, a regional civil-society network. The GI-TOC strongly supports civil-society initiatives in the Western Balkans, and in 2018 launched the Observatory as a platform where civil-society actors from the Western Balkans convene and engage in their common fight against organized crime and corruption.

Said Mark Shaw, Director of the GI-TOC, ‘Civil society and journalists are key in the fight against corruption and organized crime, not only in the Western Balkans but all around the world. They play a central role in investigating crime and corruption, raising awareness and monitoring government responses to criminality. We strongly condemn the decision to exclude Stevan Dojčinović at the CoSP. His exclusion is another example of how the space for civil-society representatives who are working on anti-organized crime and corruption issues is shrinking.’