The network of associations of citizens, journalists and media standing up against violence, that supports the civil demands of the “Serbia against violence” protests, reminds the Minister of the Interior Bratislav Gašić and the Director of the Security Intelligence Agency (BIA) Aleksandar Vulin of the citizens’ demand to resign and thus open up space for the reform of the security system that, captured by party interests, currently fails to stand in the way of widespread violence.
The tragic events in the elementary school Vladislav Ribnikar and the villages near Mladenovac are the most terrible example of the violence that has surrounded us in recent years. The absence of a police response to human rights violations, unsolved murders, the established links of parts of the government with organized crime, the security services being placed at the service of foreign countries and the fact that there are people for whom the law in Serbia does not apply to, have long been an alarm for urgent and radical changes of the security system. Unfortunately, no one was ever held responsible for this state of affairs, but the malpractice continued with the police and the BIA contributing to the capture of the state and increasing the power of individuals.
In addition to the requested resignations, the essential reform of the security system requires the election of a new Police Director after the position had been vacant for a year and a half, as well as the adoption of new laws on Internal Affairs and the BIA, which would stop the police and the BIA from being used for political purposes.
With the new Law on Internal Affairs, it is necessary to prevent the relevant Minister’s interference in the operational work of the police and to prevent him from interfering with personnel management within the Police Directorate. Additionally, it is necessary to, with this law, make it impossible for the Police Director to be chosen exclusively by the Minister of Internal Affairs and the Government, because in this way, the Director’s role in protecting the police from political influences is directly undermined. Finally, it is necessary to ensure strict sanctioning of those responsible within the police for not acting on the orders of the prosecutors, as well as for acts of torture, inhumane or degrading treatments or punishments, which in most cases remain unaccounted for.
The new Law on the BIA, which should eliminate the harmful influence of ruling parties on BIA and professionalize its work, requires that the Director of BIA have at least nine years of work experience in the field of security and that he has not been a member of a political party in the previous five years. Also, it is necessary to oblige the Government to obtain the opinion of the competent parliamentary committee before appointing the BIA Director. It is necessary to define the duration of the mandate for which the Director is elected, as well as a clear criteria for his removal.
In order for the security system to work in the interest of the public, it is also necessary to initiate investigations and determine responsibility in connection with all the affairs that undermined citizens’ trust in the police, such as the affairs of “Savamala”, “Belivuk”, “Jovanjica”, “Aunt from Canada” and “Wiretapping the Russian opposition”.
All the victims of violence who were not protected, and the fear in which the citizens of Serbia live, oblige us to a fundamental and permanent change of the security system in Serbia. The system has failed and only its complete transformation and reform will ensure that the security sector works in the public interest.
Autonomous Women’s Center
Belgrade Center for Security Policy
Belgrade Center for Human Rights
Center for contemporary politics
European movement in Serbia
Youth Initiative for Human Rights
Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights YUCOM
Independent Association of Journalists of Serbia (NUNS)
Renewables and Environmental Regulatory Institute (RERI)
Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation