FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
THURSDAY - March 11, 2010
ASSISTANT UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS
CONTINUE TRAINING IN KOSOVO
RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced today that members of his office, working with federal investigators, will travel to Kosovo on March 11 to continue intensive training with investigators and prosecutors in various areas of international criminal law. This initiative is a continuation of training which was begun last year.
Kosovo, a part of the former Yugoslavia and a territory long claimed by Serbia, formally declared its independence on February 17, 2008. That declaration was the culmination of efforts begun when the United States and NATO allies intervened in Kosovo’s violent conflict with Serbian troops in 1999. Since that time, with the aid of the United States, various European countries, and the United Nations, the people of Kosovo have been working to develop a legal system with integrity and reliability which focuses on the rule of law. The United States Department of Justice, through its Office of Oversees Prosecutorial Development and Training (OCPDT), has been playing a key role in the training of personnel in the Kosovian legal system. Indeed, since 2008, the Department has been represented in Kosovo by Assistant United States Attorney Kim Moore of the Eastern District of North Carolina. The planned training is being conducted at the request of and under the leadership of OCPDT.
Members of this office, along with federal investigators, will conduct training in Kosovo periodically in the coming months in an effort to continue the development of task forces which address drug trafficking, human trafficking and public corruption. This training will focus on basic investigative techniques as well as the proper preparation of evidence and testimony within the Kosovar criminal justice system. It will also allow the attorney and agent to advise investigators and prosecutors in Kosovo as they work on ongoing cases. The Department of Justice’s effort will be led by Robert J. Higdon, Jr., Chief of the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina and J. Frank Bradsher, Deputy Criminal Chief for Narcotics, United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Both have participated in the training undertaken by this office throughout last year in Kosovo.
Mr. Higdon has led the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office since 2002. Prior to assuming that position Mr. Higdon was the lead attorney for the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force for the United States Attorney’s Office in the Western District of North Carolina (Charlotte). He served in that capacity for nearly eleven years. Mr. Bradsher has been Deputy Criminal Chief for Narcotics since 2006. He joined the United States Attorney’s office in January of 1995. He also served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Second Judicial District from 1987 to 1995.
Messrs. Higdon and Bradsher will be joined by Special Agents Frank Brostrom of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Thomas Beers of the Internal Revenue Service. Both of these agents, with long experience in a wide range of federal criminal law, will bring vast experience to this effort. Both agents were integrally involved in the training last year.
Mr. Holding commented, “The Department of Justice and the Government of Kosovo have presented this office with a unique opportunity and important responsibilities in the training of law enforcement authorities in Kosovo. The establishment of proper law enforcement procedures and techniques and the building of strong relationships between law enforcement in North Carolina and Kosovo will be a great benefit to both the United States and to Kosovo. The United States continues to work with the government of Kosovo to establish a strong and vibrant democracy in that country. The proper enforcement of criminal laws is essential to ensuring that Kosovo is governed by the rule of law. Morever, for the United States, we benefit from a stable ally, who is a cooperative partner in the war against organized international crime. It is an honor to be a part of this effort.”