Serbian Whistleblower Law Faces First Serious Test

radovan Nenadic

Watchdog organisation Transparency Serbia told BIRN that the Nenadic case will be a good test of the effectiveness of the recently-adopted legislation protecting whisteblowers.

“This case will show how effective the new law is, because we haven’t had such a case since the enactment of the law,” said Bojana Medenica from Transparency Serbia.

Nenadic, a Belgrade court intern, was dismissed after alleging on social networks that High Court judge Predrag Vasic was involved in corrupt activity.

Nenadic criticised Vasic because the judge had his photograph taken with Aleksandar Karadjordjevic, a descendant of Serbian royal family, at the prince’s birthday party.

The photo shows the smiling judge at the lavish party at the royal residence Beli Dvor, giving Karadjordjevic a framed copy of the recent court decision rehabilitating the prince.

Vasic was the judge who made the decision on the rehabilitation of Karadjordjevic.

After Nenadic was sacked, he announced that he would seek protection under the whistleblower legislation.

“They want to punish anyone who points to something wrong with the justice system and I just pointed out something that damages the reputation of the court,” Nenadic told local media.

The law protecting whistleblowers was adopted on June 5 this year and it is designed to stop people who report abuses from facing retaliation and boost the fight against corruption.

If they feel discriminated against at work after reporting corruption or other abuses, whistleblowers are entitled to court protection via an urgent procedure.

“The court should determine whether Nenadic respected the Whistleblowers Law when alerted, and also judge Vasic has to show that he was not violating the Law on Judges. The law is new and it will be interesting to see how the court will rule,” said Medenica.

Transparency Serbia has already criticised the Whistleblowers Protection Act primarily due to the lack of sanctions for those responsible for violating the rights of people who report corruption.

The Higher Court in Belgrade said on Tuesday (July 28) that the contract with Nenadic was terminated legally. The court also asked judge Vasic to submit written arguments on the allegations against him.

Balkan Insight           July 29, 2015