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    • Cooperation is key for strengthening of integrity in security sector

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    • Date: 17 September 2014
      More than 100 representatives from Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior, Security-Intelligence Agency, independent government institutions, many embassies and international organizations in Serbia, as well as students, civil society organizations and media have gathered at conference on integrity in the security sector organized by BCSP.

      „It is not enough to build integrity only in certain institutions, it is necessary to establish better cooperation among them. For strengthening of integrity in security sector it should be improved cooperation between external and internal oversight“, said BCSP Director Sonja Stojanović Gajić at conference „Partnership for integrity in security sector“held on September 17th 2014 at Zira hotel.

      Opening the conference, US Ambassador to Republic of Serbia, His Excellency Michael Kirby stated that security sector has crucial importance for every society because it should create conditions for other democratic institutions development.

      „Security institutions are key element of every government, they create conditions for progress in other sectors. If society wants to be democratic, leaders should provide that military and police work with integrity“, highlighted Ambassador Kirby.

      Minister of Defense, Bratislav Gašić emphasized that security of citizens and society is basic for success, so that it is necessary to eradicate corruption to achieve this success.

      „Because of negative influence of corruption, Serbia has, only in field of procurement, lost approximately 600 million of Euros. Because of this, main principle, of which we do not deviate, is zero toleration to this plague. Ministry of Defense and Army of Serbia conduct concrete measures to reduce and suppress corruption, for this task we engaged Military-security Agency, Defense inspectorate, as well as Internal revision department“, stressed Minister Gašić.

      Politicization - basic problem for building integrity

      Presenting results of research on assessment of integrity in security sector, BCSP Executive Director Predrag Petrović pointed out that security institutions progressed in transparency of their work. He also, boasted work of Security services control Committee, cited that it regularly revises agencies and services reports, it conducted three control visits and achieved cooperation with other control organs. On the other hand, Petrović listed many problems considering Security sector integrity building.     

      Main, observed problem is politicization of security sector. After every elections, we witnessed inter and intra party combating for directory positions in Security-information Agency and Police, putting aside conditions which candidates have to meet. Political criteria are crucial for placement on key positions. Alongside, there are serious problems regarding human resources management. There are not enough open and intern calls, nor the list of open places is annunciated“, emphasized BCSP Executive Director.

      Panelists agreed that integrity building requires better legislative solutions relating to security sector institutions, better system coordination implementation, stronger internal and external control and improved human resourcing. Chairman of the Committee for control of security services Momir Stojanović stressed that Serbia lacks key criteria for discussion on security sector - clearly defined security/intelligence policy. According to him, security sector reform priority should be different organizational arrangement of services, harmonizing legal norms and educating parliament committee members to exert a more efficient control. Vice-chairman of the Committee for control of security services Dragan Šutanovac recognized human resourcing as a big problem in Ministry of Interior. He pointed that Serbia is an example of a country where police academy graduates remain partly unemployed, which proves inadequate human resources management. Šutanovac stated that members of Parliament have no possibility to monitor special measures’ implementation during police investigations.

      Public procurement among the greatest corruption risks

      “Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior and Security-Intelligence Agency aren’t specific just because they can use force but also because they are amongst the greatest spenders of tax-payers’ money. They spend together 8,6% of national budget. Because of this it is important to highlight four problems BCSP found during the research: transition to program budgeting, procurements, implementation of recommendations of internal revision and the fact that the greatest part of the budget goes to salaries”, said BCSP researcher Saša Đorđević.

      Assistant to the minister of Interior Željko Kojić stated that procurements in this Ministry are based on annual procurement plans, but the problem is that police departments’ demands multiply exceed available funds. Kojić stressed that a large number of procurements is labeled confidential, as well as that there were cases of corruption, like procuring a vehicle for Gendarmerie, after which the persons responsible were processed. Danilo Pejović from Transparency Serbia pointed out that Ministry of Defense and Ministry of interior are among the greatest purchasers in Serbia, and underlined that decreased transparency and reduced competition are two big procurement risks. State secretary in Ministry of Defense Zoran Đorđević pointed out the program budgeting introduction and said that it is a good step, because it leads to increased transparency and it will make ministries spend more efficiently and with higher control. He stressed that transition to program budgeting should be slow, and that constant training of employees should take place, in order to get them acquainted with functioning of program budgeting.

      The conference is organized within the project ‘Partnership for Integrity in Security Sector in Serbia’ supported by United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through the Civil Society Forward Program managed by Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC).
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