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    • Police Reform in Serbia from the perspective of civil society organizations

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    • Date: 09 March 2010
      The second Collection of Policy Papers on Police Reform in Serbia was presented on Monday, 8 March 2010 at the Media Centre in Belgrade. This Collection is a result of the joint work of three civil society organizations – the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, the Centre for Civil-Military Relations and the Forum for Security and Democracy, under the project "Fostering civil society involvement in police reform".

      Speakers at the presentation of the Collection was Miroslav Hadzic, President of the Managerial Board of the Centre for Civil-Military Relations and authors of three policy papers - Žarko Marković from the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, Saša Djordjević from the Centre for Civil-Military Relations and Jan Litavski from the Forum for Security and Democracy.

      After a short introductory presentation of the project and researches, professor Hadzić stressed the importance of the participation of civil society in the process of the security sector reform. Also, he warned on the bad practice of the adoption of documents in this area without public hearings and with the lack of transparency. He noted that there is a “hyperinflation of strategies” which are easily approved, but there is still a lack of specific, well-designed plans for their implementation.

      Žarko Markovic’ policy paper is focused on improving the legal framework which regulated the use of force by the police. He pointed out on the shortcomings of the Rule Book on technical characteristics and methods of the use of coercive measures and the mandatory instruction on reporting and estimating justified. Additionally, he noted that there is a discrepancy between words and provisions of the Criminal Code with the provisions of the Convention against Torture; as well as mild penalties for criminal acts that police officers might commit with unlawful use of force.

      Saša Djordjevic presented the idea of creating the institutional framework of crime prevention where the National Council and seven regional teams for the crime prevention are the main actors for crime prevention in Serbia. In the process of building this institutional framework it is necessary to develop strategic and action plan, thus, providing the support of political parties, the Ministry of Interior, as well as to initiate an public debate. Saša pointed out that MoI should continue to work on drafting the National crime prevention strategy, but this is only an initial step. Without effective crime prevention programs and strategy implementation, all measures are questionable, said Saša.

      Jan Litavski presented the results which are achieved so far in preventing violence at sport events, as well as concrete recommendations. He pointed out that the situation had improved after the murder of Brice Taton, fan of the Toulouse football club from France. However, it is necessary to further develop the cooperation of the MoI and other state institutions with civil society organizations and sport event’s organizers. Moreover, a specific strategic plan to combat violence at sporting events should be adpoted. Also, we need to develop a new police campaign which will increase the trust and appeal to those groups of people who carried out violence at sporting events, Jan concluded.

      The project “Fostering the civil society involvement in police reform” is being implemented with the support of the OSCE Mission in Serbia, Embassy of the Netherlands, Hungary and Norway and the Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF).

      Related topics:police, reform, civil, society, Serbia
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