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Is there any medicine for the immunity abuse?

skupstina srbije unutraAs a  part of the parliamentary debate, the head of the ruling party SNS, otherwise professor of law, professor Aleksandar Martinovic, "asked Šabić" (the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Protection of Personal Data) "when would he stop working against the interests of his own state, for the account of foreign intelligence services, because he does not receive salaries from foreign intelligence services but from the state budget."

This sentence, in any way, regardless of the question form (as the question "when will it stop" contains an undeniable claim on work for the foreign intelligence services), is a charge that the high state official, elected by the National Assembly, committed a serious crime.

Namely, according to Article 315, par. 3) of the Criminal Code "Whoever sidesteps the intelligence service, collects information about it or otherwise helps its work, will be punished by imprisonment of one to ten years." The crime that Martinović accused Šabić for is even more serious because it’s an accusation brought against a state official who, under the law, has access to and classified information of the highest rank, and to whom the Safety Information Agency issued the appropriate certificate. If these allegations were true, this would mean that most of the state secrets are at risk of being given to "foreign secret services". For now, there is no reaction from a public prosecutor to bringing such disturbing allegations, and it should be, no matter how the public prosecutor holds to the truthfulness of what Martinović says.

It would be the only reliable way to determine whether the allegations are true or false and whether the system of security checks carried out by the BIA is functioning at all.

 One of the reasons why there is no great importance of the truthfulness of what was said in the parliamentary speaker's speech could be wide defined immunity. According to Article 103 of the Serbian Constitution, a deputy enjoys immunity and "can not be called to account for any criminal or other responsibility for expressing an opinion or voting in the performance of the deputy function." If under the notion of "expressed opinion" everything that the MP speaks at a session of the Assembly is subject to, this would mean that MPs, unlike other citizens, can not be held accountable for the criminal act of "false declarations" when they designate someone as the perpetrator of the criminal work, but they know he is not guilty. Due to the lack of responsibility, the credibility of such statements is essentially lost in effect. On the other hand, the consequence of lack of accountability is the enormous space for abusing the assembly booth by making unwarranted accusations against present and absent people.
This case is a good opportunity to recall that one of the unsuccessful recommendations of the Group of Anti-Corruption Groups (GRECO - which functions within the Council of Europe) of 2015 refers to "passing the Code of Conduct for People's Deputies". From this Code, GRECO expects that it can help resolve complex legal issues such as conflict of interest in the exercise of a parliamentary function.  As previously announced, the Codex would deal with questions of ethics and behavior of members of the legislative body. Already now it is quite clear that any expectations that the Code could change something essentially are unrealistic, but there is no political will for the adoption of such an act, of which violation would not lead to real sanctions. However, as Serbia is sure to come to an amendment to the Constitution, it will be a great opportunity to substantially re-examine the current concept of immunity and to tackle where it is now being used contrary to the purpose for which it was introduced.

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