Information gained from decrypted messaging apps has driven a wave of indictments and arrests in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

According to data held by criminal justice officials in Bosnia and Herzegovina, more than 2 200 people in the country had installed the Sky ECC app since its launch.1 What was once a platform for safe communication has become a source of incriminating messages against criminal actors and their contacts – including state officials – that have led to a number of indictments. When presenting the work of the Prosecutor’s Office for 2022, Chief State Prosecutor Milanko Kajganić announced they had imprisoned over 100 members of various organized criminal groups and arrested 15 police officers. Many of these arrests were a result of information gained from decrypted apps such as Sky ECC and ANOM, another messaging service.2

In December 2022, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina brought the first indictment that drew evidence from the Sky and ANOM apps. The indictment alleged that from 2020 to March 2022, the accused, Dalibor Railić, set up a criminal group in the country to traffic cannabis and cocaine from Western Europe to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The case was triggered by the murder of Radenko Bašić,3 the head of the criminal police of Prijedor (Republic of Srpska), who the criminal group suspected of disrupting their illicit activities.4 According to the indictment, information from the Sky app revealed that Railić had been searching for a hitman to murder Bašić.5

In March 2023, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina brought another indictment as a result of decrypted messages from the Sky and ANOM apps. In this case, the accused, Milan Matković, was charged with drug trafficking, money laundering, document forgery and planning murders. Between mid-2020 and the end of 2021, Matković allegedly organized a criminal group that was active in Austria, Croatia, Switzerland, Spain, the Netherlands and Germany, and had links to South America.6 Matković was reportedly in charge of trafficking firearms to Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as trafficking drugs from Latin America to the EU via Bosnia and Herzegovina.7

In early February 2023, another indictment was filed by the Prosecutor’s Office against five citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and North Macedonia. According to the indictment, from late 2019 to the end of 2021, information from Sky ECC revealed that the accused were smuggling large amounts of cannabis from Serbia and Montenegro via Bosnia and Herzegovina to Croatia, Germany, the Netherlands and Poland.8 Criminal profits were laundered by buying real estate and expensive vehicles.9

In April 2023, the Ministry of Interior of Sarajevo Canton conducted an operation that led to the arrest of eight people, including two women, suspected of trafficking large quantities of cocaine, heroin and cannabis, as well as weapons and military equipment.10 This operation was launched as a result of information obtained by decrypting communications between suspects through the Sky ECC app.11

A further operation carried out on 24 May 2023 and led by Europol resulted in the arrests of 37 members of a criminal group from the Western Balkans. The group was headed by Dino ‘Caesar’ Muzaferović, a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina who is considered a high-value target. Muzaferović directed his criminal activities from a prison in Italy, where he is serving a four-year sentence. The group, which was characterized as violent and powerful, was involved in drug and firearms smuggling. The investigation was enabled with the help of Europol’s decoding of messages on the Encrochat, Sky ECC and ANOM apps.12

Firearms seized during a Europol operation in May 2023, facilitated by decoding messages on apps including Sky ECC.

Firearms seized during a Europol operation in May 2023, facilitated by decoding messages on apps including Sky ECC.

Photo: Europol

Caught in the net

Not only have the Sky ECC messages revealed the activities of criminal groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but they also raise questions about the umbrella of protection under which these groups were able to operate. Decrypted messages have implicated politicians, prosecutors and police officers in various crimes. For instance, in one message, a notorious drug lord from Trebinje wrote about contacts he supposedly had in the state prosecutor’s office who would cover for him and his associates.13

Lawyers for the accused have challenged the validity of the evidence collected from the Sky ECC app.14 In addition, in 2022, the President of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council, Halil Lagumdžija, expressed doubts about the evidence’s validity. However, after a negative reaction from partner countries, he changed his position and confirmed that the judicial bodies would take the evidence into account.15 He noted that evidence gathered from Sky ECC messages would be used in specific cases, upholding the highest standards enshrined in the European Court of Human Rights, the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina and other legal regulations.16 Other countries have also debated the admissibility of evidence gathered through encrypted apps. For example, in June 2023, in response to concerns raised by defence attorneys, the Supreme Court of the Netherlands ruled that such messages can be used as evidence.17

As a result, the net seems to be tightening around some state-embedded actors. The Deputy Chief Prosecutor of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dijana Kajmaković, was dismissed on 27 May 2022 after her name appeared in several messages sent between members of a criminal group from Trebinje. A subsequent search of her possessions, by order of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, found information that led to the opening of 14 new cases. After this incident, another prosecutor, Oleg Čavka, was transferred from the Department for Organized Crime to the Special Department for War Crimes.18 It is assumed that the reason for this transfer is the same as for Kajmaković – the mention of their names in the deciphered communication,19 in this case, by members of an organized crime group.20

Excerpt from communications between members of an organized crime group via the Sky ECC app.

Excerpt from communications between members of an organized crime group via the Sky ECC app.


In another case in April 2022, nine people from Bosnia and Herzegovina were arrested, including Jovan Savić, judge of the Basic Court in Bijeljina. This group is suspected of smuggling drugs from the Netherlands and Germany to Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as smuggling weapons and disclosing official secrets.21

In May 2023, a high-profile case involved a local mayor, Ibrahim Hadžibajrić, who is also vice president of the People’s European Union party. He is the first politician from Bosnia and Herzegovina to be arrested due to evidence from the Sky ECC app. Six other people were arrested with him on corruption and crime charges.22 The arrests were the result of several months of intensive cooperation with international police partners, primarily Europol but also the FBI.23

While the Sky ECC messages reveal important information about criminal groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the alleged lack of integrity of some politicians and criminal justice officials, they also provide an opportunity for the country to strengthen international cooperation to counter crime and corruption. This was highlighted by the US Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Michael J Murphy, at a regional conference on organized crime held in Sarajevo in April 2023. Addressing law enforcement officials, he stated: ‘Through your partnerships with the FBI, as well as the Europol-led Sky ECC operation, you have access to a historic amount of potential evidence, which can be used to roll back the influence of transnational organized crime networks.’24 The ambassador underlined that future arrests connected to the messaging apps could have a ‘transformational effect’ on efforts to address criminal structures. It remains to be seen whether new revelations will come to light and how law enforcement will respond to them.


  1. Bljesak, Aplikaciju Sky u BiH je koristilo 2200 političara, biznismena, policajaca…, 21 May 2023,

  2. Sky aplikacija: U BiH uhićeno 100 osoba, od toga 15 policajaca!,, 22 March 2023,

  3. Bašić was murdered on 21 March 2022 in Prijedor as he was on his way to work. Before his murder, Bašić had told his colleagues that he was being followed, but few believed him. A O, Inspektora krim policije pratili dva mjeseca prije ubistva u Prijedoru, Dnevni Avaz, 8 April 2022,

  4. Prva optužnica u BiH za korištenje SKY i ANOM aplikacije, Radio Slobodna Evropa, 16 December 2022,

  5. Railić je pola godine tražio ko će ubiti policijskog načelnika Bašića. Ovo su detalji prve ‘Sky’ optužnice, Raport, 22 November 2022,

  6. A Brkić Čekić, Potvrđena prva optužnica protiv Milana Matkovića koji je sebi zašio usta, Oslobođenje, 29 March 2023,

  7. M Aščić, Objavljujemo poruke narkobosa Milana Matkovića i njegove bande: Planirali ubistvo Ašćerića, kilogram kokaina prodavali za 70.000 maraka, Dnevni Avaz, 19 August 2022,

  8. Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Podignuta optužnica u predmetu sa dokazima iz Sky i Anom aplikacije u predmetu Sako Bibić i dr., 16 February 2023,

  9. H J I, Podignuta treća optužnica zbog Sky aplikacije, Dnevni Avaz, 16 February 2023,

  10. E Dž, Akcija Overdose: Osumnjičeni ispitani, za neke je zatražen pritvor, Dnevni Avaz, 13 April 2023,

  11. Ministry of Interior of Sarajevo Canton, OTA „Overdose“: Zaplijenjena vozila, slobode lišeno osam osoba, 12 April 2023,

  12. Donosimo detalje operacije ‘Balkanski kartel’ u kojoj je „palo“ 37 kriminalaca,, 26 May 2023,

  13. Objavljeni izvodi iz Sky komunikacije: „U Tužilaštvu BiH sve možemo završiti parama preko Kajmakovićke, Čavke i Čampare, Slobodna Bosna, 22 September 2022,

  14. Z Krešić, Aplikaciju Sky u BiH je koristilo 2200 političara, biznismena, policajaca…, Večernji list, 21 May 2023,

  15. Ibid. 

  16. M A, Novo pojašnjenje: Oglasio se Halil Lagumdžija o Sky i Anom aplikaciji, Dnevni Avaz, 18 November 2022,

  17. Dutch authorities can use hacked encrypted messaging services as evidence: Supreme Court, NL Times, 13 June 2023,

  18. D B, Tužitelj Oleg Čavka više ne radi na predmetima organizovanog kiminala, prebačen u drugi odjel, Klix, 02 September 2022,

  19. Objavljujemo izvode iz Sky komunikacije: „U Tužilaštvu BiH sve možemo završiti parama preko Kajmakovićke, Čavke i Čampare“,, 22 September 2022,

  20. Srpskainfo, Potvrđena prva optužnica sa dokazima iz “Skaj” i “Anom” aplikacije: Među krivičnim djelima i UBISTVO RADENKA BAŠIĆA, 16 December 2022,

  21. M Aščić, Detalji akcije „Ira“: Uhapšeni sudija iz Bijeljine kriminalcima javljao presude, Dnevni Avaz, 16 April 2022,

  22. H Ivković Šimičić, Uhićen sarajevski načelnik i još 6 osoba. Genijalci su dogovarali mito i pranje novca preko aplikacije, Telegram, 10 May 2023,

  23. Pogledajte šta je sve zaplijenjeno u akciji Start: Vozila, novac, nakit, farma…, Oslobođenje, 12 May 2023,

  24. US Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ambassador Murphy’s remarks at the Regional Transnational Organized Crime Conference, 3 April 2023,