Representatives of Institute Alternative, Stevo Muk and Dina Bajramspahić, participated today at the roundtable on the Draft Law on Special State Prosecution Office organized by the Ministry of Justice. On this occasion, they presented our comments, suggestions and proposals with regard to this Draft Law.
The Draft Law on Special State Prosecution Office, deliberated at the public hearing, is not a result of identified problems in the work of the hitherto Department for combating organized crime, corruption, terrorism and war crimes and the proposed solutions do not correspond to its actual needs. This is most evident from the fact that a minimum of Draft provisions is related to special prosecutors, so the Department will not undergo any substantial changes. Hence, the focus of the Draft Law is on the changes related to other subjects (state authorities, especially the Police and other authorities that will reassign their employees to the Special Prosecution Office, banks, etc.), while the issues related to the Special Prosecution Office are neglected or regulated in the same manner as before, which is very problematic.
In short, according to this Draft Law:
- The preconditions for the highest qualified legal experts, who have the capacity to conduct investigations in high-profile corruption and organized crime cases, to come to the position of Chief Special Prosecutor and special prosecutors have not been met.
- The security risks in the selection of the Chief Special Prosecutor and special prosecutors have not been reduced.
- Competencies are not defined in the manner which would allow Special Prosecution Office to attend to the most complex cases. On the contrary, the SPO will be swamped with cases of low-profile corruption.
- The authority of Chief Special Prosecutor in the Police Administration has not been strengthened.
- Prescribing performance evaluation measures for the Chief Special Prosecutor and special prosecutors is entirely omitted.
- Prescribing control procedures of dismissal of criminal complaints is entirely omitted.
- The procedure for determining the number of special prosecutors has not been established.
- Budgetary stability has not been provided and the budget amount determined for this Office is not known, since it is “drowned” within the overall budget of the State Prosecution Office.
- Special reporting practice to the Parliament has not been established nor any additional reporting practice to the Prosecutorial Council.
Although it may be redundant to repeat, we remind that every Progress Report issued by the European Commission brings the same assessments on the alarming state of affairs in the area of corruption and organized crime and particularly points out to the lack of track record of proactive investigations in this field. The burden of achieving results in this area is placed on the Special Prosecution Office. However, this Draft Law does not reflect even the slightest desire to actually improve the Special Prosecution Office, but only to have some “cosmetic” reforms.