BELGRADE – The fight against corruption at the border requires a complete legal framework for internal control of the police in Serbia.
It is necessary to improve the dialogue between civil society and state institutions in order to formulate the best migration policy for Serbia, it was concluded at the thematic meeting of the Working Group of the National Convention on the European Union on Chapter 24 (NCEU) and the Negotiating Group on Justice, Freedom and Security organized on June 28 in Belgrade.
The members of the NCEU Working Group for Chapter 24 presented and explained the comments on the draft revised Action Plan for this chapter in the section dealing with asylum, migration and border protection at the thematic meeting. Previously, the members sent comments in writing to the Negotiating Group.
Members indicated in comments that there are missing targets or activities for the three interim benchmarks introduced to ensure that reforms produce results in the areas of human smuggling, operational independence of the police and the protection of victims of human trafficking.
“These interim benchmarks need to be transferred into the objectives and activities in the Action Plan for Chapter 24 and an overview of what has been achieved in police reform in line with the European Union’s recommendation on the professionalization of the police and the rationalization of its structure needs to be added in order to improve the work of the police,” it was concluded in the comments from the NCEU Working Group for Chapter 24.
A representative of the Negotiating Group on Justice, Freedom and Security Jelena Bujaković from the Ministry of Interior pointed out that all comments are welcome and that responses to suggestions coming from civil society were prepared and are going to be submitted later.
BCSP researcher Saša Đorđević emphasized that the completion of the legal framework for the work of the Sector for Internal Control of the Ministry of Interior is a prerequisite for improving the fight against corruption at the border.
“It is necessary for the Minister of Interior to adopt bylaws on internal control, integrity test application, corruption risk analysis, financial condition checks and second and third level security checks in the Ministry of Interior,” emphasized Đorđević.
A successful fight against corruption in the border police requires structural reorganization, staffing, and technical equipment and improvement of the Sector for Internal Control, Đorđević said.
“The organizational structure and technical equipment of the Sector for Internal Control must satisfy and enable unobstructed control and oversight of the border police. There aren’t 127 people in the Sector for Internal Control, which would be in line with the systematization of jobs. It is necessary to adopt and apply the Integrity Plan for the Border Police Directorate, which according to the records of the Anti-Corruption Agency still does not exist,” said Đorđević.
Đorđević mentioned that in order to prevent corruption in the border police, the Sector for Internal Control must regularly carry out supervisory tasks and conduct administrative controls of border crossing points for road traffic in Serbia. A special focus of preventive activities should be on young border police officers.
In addition to BCSP, which is the coordinator of the NCEU Working Group for Chapter 24, the comments on the revised Action Plan for Chapter 24 were also presented by the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, Public Policy Research Centre and Group 484.