Corruption Hindering Serbian Justice, BIRN Report

Corruption is still thwarting the functioning of the justice system in Serbia, a report on battling corruption by BIRN and the Belgrade Center for Security Policy reads.

Anticorruption report press conference 640x480

New research conducted by the Belgrade Center for Security Policy and BIRN says that major branches of the Serbian justice system, police and judiciary remain influenced by corruption. “There is a limited implementation of the national anti-corruption strategy in those fields. This situation isn’t in alignment with promises and plans for a better future made by the political elite in the past two years,” the report presented in the Belgrade Media Center on Thursday said.

In the judiciary, only ten out of 20 measures for curbing corruption have been implemented, as set by the National Anti-Corruption Strategy. Some of the unimplemented measures require a lot of resources, such as linking and securing exchanges of information between the police, the prosecution and the courts, the report noted. The report also said more preparation was needed in the High Judicial Council and the State Prosecutorial Council for implementing the strategy’s budget. “The police and the prosecutor’s office are not proactive. They lack a common approach when working on corruption cases,” the report warned.

The main reasons for not battling corruption in the police department is put down to the former lack of a proper Law on the Police. Sasa Djordjevic, one of the authors of the report, believes that as the new Law on Police – adopted in January – is now set to be implemented, no excuses remain for not battling corruption. “With the new law, there will be… no justification for not investigating charges of corruption,” Djordjevic told the press conference.

In the police department, only 10 per cent of promised activities aimed at eradicating corruption have been carried out, the report said. However, better progress is expected in dealing with this problem during 2016, following implementation of the new police law. For the judiciary, the main problems are the overwhelming number of unsolved cases and political influence over the election of prosecutors. As for the media reporting on corruption, the report says that media reports are too upbeat when talking about anti-corruption measures.

“Uncritical reporting on the anti-corruption strategy has certainly influenced the quality of the strategy’s implementation,” the report noted.

Balkan Insight 
4 February 2016