Tuesday, 22 July 2003

Report on the activities of the Committee on Defence and Security of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, for the period from 3 July 2003 to 16 July 2003

Sixteen sessions of the Committee on Defence and Security of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia (hereafter: the Committee) were held from 3 July 2002 to 16 July 2003. Besides members of the Committee, other Deputies took part in the sessions as well.


Sixteen sessions of the Committee on Defence and Security of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia (hereafter: the Committee) were held from 3 July 2002 to 16 July 2003. Besides members of the Committee, other Deputies took part in the sessions as well. When requested to, representatives of the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Serbia (hereafter: the MUP RS), such as the minister or senior officials, attended the sessions. As a rule, the sessions were held at the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia (hereafter: the National Assembly), except for the 11th session, held on 5 March 2003, and the 21st session, held on 11 July 2003. The Committee discussed three Bills, of which two represent the first instance that their subject matter is dealt with in Serbia, eight Informations of the MUP RS, the Information of the Security and Information Agency on the security situation, and the Report on the Activities of the Security and Information Agency. The Deputies adopted the Bills, passed positive judgements on the MUP RS Informations, the Information and the Report on the Activities of the Security and Information Agency.

The chairman of the Committee, Dragan Sutanovac, together with the chairman of the Committee on Kosovo and Metohia, sent a letter to relevant international organisations and institutions, asking the international community to ensure equal rights for all people living in Kosovo and Metohia.

Members of the Committee visited departments of the MUP RS in Belgrade, the Security and Information Agency and the Security Institute, as well as units of the Pristina Corps and the Gendarmerie in the municipality of Bujanovac. A multi-party delegation of the Committee, headed by chairman Dragan Sutanovac paid a five-day visit to Germany, where they visited police and intelligence agencies, related Bundestag committees, as well as German Federal Ministries of Foreign Affairs and the Interior. Chairman of the Committee, Dragan Sutanovac, held several meetings with representatives of international organisations and the diplomatic corps in Belgrade. The Committee’s sessions were open to the public, except for the 13th, held on 21 March 2003, and the 21st, held on 11 July 2003. All sessions open to the public were attended by representatives of the media. The activities and sessions of the Committee, beginning with July 2002, were, from April 2003, presented on the Committee’s web page on the web site of the National Assembly.

As part of a parliamentary internship programme organised by the National Assembly, the OSCE Mission in Serbia and Montenegro and the Faculty of Political Sciences of the University of Belgrade, Svetlana Stojancic joined the Committee from October 2002 to July 2003 as an intern.

On the basis of the Memorandum on Co-operation between the National Assembly and the OSCE Mission to Serbia and Montenegro, signed on 18 April 2003, the Committee should, during the Assembly’s autumn sitting, be assigned an expert on issues from the Committee’s field of competence.


Activities and sessions of the Committee

3 July 2002 - the Committee’s 7th session was held. After Ivan Andric, a member of the Committee, presented his proposal, Dragan Sutanovac, a member of the Committee, was elected chairman with no votes against and one abstention.

10 July 2002 - the Committee’s 8th session was held, attended by the Serbian Minister of the Interior, Dusan Mihajlovic, and the head of the Public Security Service of the Serbian Ministry of the Interior, General Sreten Lukic. The session’s agenda comprised discussion of the Information of the Ministry of the Interior on the security situation in the Republic of Serbia for the period January - June 2002.

17 July 2002 - the Committee’s 9th session was held. It saw discussion of the Bill on the Security and Information Agency. On behalf of the submitter, the Government of the Republic of Serbia, the session was attended by the head of the State Security Service of the Serbian Ministry of the Interior, Andrija Savic, and the secretary of the Serbian Ministry of the Interior, Slobodan Miletic. The Committee adopted the Bill by a majority vote, deciding to recommend its adoption to the National Assembly.

18 October 2002 - Meeting of the Committee’s chairman, Dragan Sutanovac, with representatives of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) of Washington, DC. Mr Sutanovac presented a plan of the Committee’s future visits to departments of the Serbian Ministry of the Interior, as well as a visit to related committees in Germany. The discussion centred on possible forms of co-operation and support for the Committee’s further activities.

5 November 2002 - Meeting of the Committee’s members with associates involved in a project for enhancing mechanisms for responsible policing, realised by the OSCE Mission in Yugoslavia and the Geneva-based Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF). The deputies present were acquainted with the project, which involves the creation of recommendations relating to the fight against police corruption and organised crime, as well as strengthening mechanisms for responsible policing. Chairman of the Committee, Dragan Sutanovac, presented a programme of the Committee’s future activities.

19 November 2002 - Committee’s visit to the Belgrade Police Department. Members of the Committee visited the Command and Operations Centre and the newly-opened Information Centre. At a meeting held during the visit, the head of the Belgrade Police Department, Milan Obradovic, acquainted members of the Committee with the structure of the Belgrade Police Department, announced its restructuring, and underlined the problem of a lack of professionals and assets necessary for the Department to work more efficiently. The meeting discussed the Bill on the Organisation and Competencies of State Bodies in Combating Organised Crime, as well as the shortcomings of the Act on Penal Proceedings.

27 November 2002 - Meeting of the Committee’s members with German Parliamentary State Secretary Rudolf Koerper. Mr Koerper acquainted the Deputies with the activities and competencies of the security committees of all 16 German state parliaments and the Security Committee of the Bundestag. He stressed that internal affairs were the responsibility of both federal and state bodies. The most important role in combating organised crime is played by state ministers of the interior, who meet for regular ministers’ conferences where key policing decisions are made. Mr Koerper expressed the wish that the German Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs should continue to offer assistance to the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Serbia.

15 January 2003 - Meeting of the chairpersons and vice-chairpersons of the National Assembly’s Committees with experts of the OSCE Mission to Yugoslavia. The meeting was held to acquaint OSCE Mission representatives participating in the creation of the study on procedures and activities of National Assembly Committees with the functioning and difficulties in the work of National Assembly Committees. Dragan Sutanovac underlined two problems encountered by members of the Committee: inadequate knowledge of the structure, composition and organisation of the Serbian Ministry of the Interior, and imprecise legal provisions for the Committee’s work and competencies. He stressed that the practice had been introduced of summoning representatives of the Ministry of the Interior to attend the Committee’s sessions and submit reports on the security situation.

16 January 2003 - Meeting of the Committee’s members with foreign experts participating in the creation of the OSCE Mission to Yugoslavia’s study on procedures and activities of National Assembly Committees. The meeting was held with the aim of assessing difficulties in the work of the Committees and collecting members’ views of how their work could be improved and made more efficient. Members of the Committee stressed that a lack of experience and imprecise legal regulation of the Committee’s competence were key difficulties in its work. Acquaintance with deputies of European parliaments, competencies of related committees of those parliaments, as well as with their working experiences, would contribute to improvements in the Committee’s work. The deputies underlined the need for a greater number of permanent associates, as well as the possibility of employing outside experts for certain duties. The Committee’s Chairman, Dragan Sutanovac, stressed that deputies’ responsibility for making information received at the Committee’s sessions public should be regulated by law.

13 February 2003 - the Committee’s 10th session was held. The agenda comprised discussion of the Information of the Government of the Republic of Serbia on the activities of the Serbian Ministry of the Interior for 2002. The introductory address was given by the Minister of the Interior in the Government of the Republic of Serbia, Dusan Mihajlovic, and the head of the Public Security Service of the Ministry of the Interior, General Sreten Lukic, together with their associates.

13 February 2003 - Committee’s visit to the Ministry of the Interior. Members of the Committee visited the Criminalistics Technical Centre (hereafter: KTC), the Duty Operations Centre and the Police Directorate of the Serbian Ministry of the Interior.

The Deputies had the opportunity to become acquainted with the material and technical means at the KTC’s disposal. The general impression of the Committee’s members is that it is necessary to improve working conditions at the KTC, as well as its equipment, in order for the Ministry of the Interior to perform its duties more efficiently. This was the Deputies’ first visit to this department of the Ministry of the Interior.

5 March 2003 - Committee’s visit to units of the Pristina Corps and the Gendarmerie in the municipality of Bujanovac. Members of the Committee visited Vrtogos and Kadrova Cuka army bases, Usi Gendarmerie base and the police check-point in Konculj, in the municipality of Bujanovac. The Deputies were acquainted with the work of the units by Deputy Chief of General Staff of the Army of Serbia and Montenegro, General Vladimir Lazarevic, Deputy Defence Minister, Major General Svetislav Ristic, commanding officer of the Gendarmerie, General Goran Radosavljevic, vice-chairman of the Co-ordinating Body for Southern Serbia, Lieutenant General Ninoslav Krstic, commanding officer of the Pristina Corps, Major General Mladen Cirkovic, and Chief of Vranje Police, Colonel Ljubisav Aleksic. They informed the Committee’s members of the increase of terrorism in the municipalities of Presevo and Bujanovac and the measures taken by the security forces in preventing the smuggling of weapons, goods, and people. Members of the security forces stressed that one of the greatest problems they faced was the lack of modern electronic surveillance equipment for monitoring the crossing of the administrative border. The deputies also became acquainted with the living and working conditions of personnel of the Gendarmerie and the Army deployed in the area. After the visit, a session of the Committee was held.

5 March 2003 - the Committee’s 11th session was held, at the Press Centre of the Co-ordinating Body of the municipality of Bujanovac. The session was also attended by the chairman of the Committee on Inter-ethnic Relations, Meho Omerovic, Army Chief of Staff, General Vladimir Lazarevic, commanding officer of the Pristina Corps, Major General Mladen Cirkovic, commanding officer of the Gendarmerie, General Goran Radosavljevic, vice-chairman of the Co-ordinating Body for Southern Serbia, Lieutenant General Ninoslav Krstic, members of the Co-ordinating Body, president of the Municipal Assembly of Bujanovac, Nagip Arifi, as well as the Chief of Vranje Police, Ljubisav Aleksic. The session discussed the current security situation in southern Serbia. General Krstic outlined the present state in the security zones in the Bujanovac and Presevo area, member of the Co-ordinating Body for Southern Serbia Mica Markovic acquainted the participants with the tasks of the Co-ordinating Bod, while Chief of Vranje Police Ljubisav Aleksic presented the Report on the Security Situation and Results of Vranje Police for 2002.

12 March 2003 - The Committee’s 12th session was held. The session was convened to acquaint sports clubs and other interested parties with the Bill on the Prevention of Violence and Improper Behaviour at Sports Events, in order for them to be able to submit their remarks and amendments to the Bill in good time. The Bill had been forwarded, in November 2002, to all relevant organisations and institutions which had been asked for their expert opinions about the Bill.
The session was attended by the head of the Public Security Service of the Serbian Ministry of the Interior, Sreten Lukic and his assistants, representatives of the Ministry of Education and Sports, representatives of the Football Association of Serbia and Montenegro, as well as those of several football and basketball clubs.

The session was adjourned after the chairman of the Committee informed those present of the assassination of Serbian Prime Minister, Dr Zoran Djindjic.

21 March 2003 - The Committee’s 13th session, not open to the public, was held. The Minister of the Interior in the Government of the Republic of Serbia, Dusan Mihajlovic, and the head of the Public Security Service of the Serbian Ministry of the Interior, General Sreten Lukic, informed the Deputies about the implementation of measures under the state of emergency introduced after the assassination of the Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, Dr Zoran Djindjic, as well as about the activities undertaken by the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Serbia in combating organised crime. At the end of the session, the Committee adopted a statement for the public, expressing, among other things, the Committee’s support for the determination of the forces of the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Serbia, the Security and Information Agency and the Army of Serbia and Montenegro in solving the assassination of the Serbian Prime Minister, Dr Zoran Djindjic, and the struggle against organised crime.

3 April 2003 - Meeting of the Committee’s chairman, Dragan Sutanovac, and First Secretary of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Belgrade, Karel Vondrak. Mr Vondrak expressed the support of his country for the steps taken by the Government of the Republic of Serbia in implementing measures relating to the state of emergency instituted after the assassination of the Serbian Prime Minister, Dr Zoran Djindjic, as well as to the activities performed by the Serbian Ministry of the Interior in combating organised crime. The meeting also discussed international organised crime and the need for international co-operation and joint actions in combating this form of crime, as well as forms of parliamentary control over the Czech security service and Ministry of the Interior.

4 April 2003 - The Committee’s 14th session was held. The head of the Public Security Service, General Sreten Lukic, acquainted the members of the Committee with the activities undertaken by the Serbian Ministry of the Interior in combating organised crime, as well as with measures implemented by the Ministry under the state of emergency introduced after the assassination of the Serbian Prime Minister, Dr Zoran Djindjic, as well as of the activities of the Serbian Ministry of the Interior in combating organised crime. General Lukic stressed that determined and far-reaching actions were undertaken to identify, locate and take into custody the perpetrators of the assassination and their instigators, collaborators and other persons who could be connected to them. During the implementation of the special measures, there had been no serious disturbances of public order during the implementation of the special measures, while the incidence of criminal offences had been reduced. All the activities had been implemented through joint action by officers of the Serbian Ministry of the Interior, the Security and Information Agency and the Security Service of the Army of Serbia and Montenegro.

7 April 2003 - The Committee’s 15th session was held. The Deputies discussed the Bill Modifying the Act on Arms and Ammunition. Secretary of the Serbian Ministry of the Interior, Slobodan Miletic, opened the session by presenting changes which are to be made to Article 30 of the Act on Arms and Ammunition. The Committee unanimously agreed to recommend that the National Assembly should adopt the Bill Modifying the Act on Arms and Ammunition.

9 April 2003 - The Committee’s 16th session was held, to discuss an amendment submitted to the Bill Modifying the Act on Arms and Ammunition. The amendment relates to Article 1, Paragraph 1 of the Bill. After discussing the particulars of the Bill, the Committee did not accept the amendment

24 April 2003 - The Committee’s 17th session was held. The agenda comprised discussion of the Information on the implementation of measures under the state of emergency introduced after the assassination of the Serbian Prime Minister, Dr Zoran Djindjic, as well as with activities of the Ministry of the Interior in combating organised crime. Head of the Public Security Service of the Serbian Ministry of the Interior, General Sreten Lukic, presented figures about the number of persons detained and held in custody during Operation Sabre, as well as about the number of charges pressed. According to him, the fight against organised crime will continue after the state of emergency is lifted. Special attention will be paid to the fight against fraud and financial crime. General Lukic underlined the importance of the Ministry of the Interior’s co-operation with members of the Security and Information Agency and the Army of Serbia and Montenegro during the state of emergency.

16 May 2003 - The Committee’s 18th session was held jointly with the Committee on Kosovo and Metohia. The agenda of the session comprised issues of security in southern Serbia and the return of expelled and displaced persons from Kosovo and Metohija. Besides members of the committees, the session was also attended by representatives of the Serbian Ministry of the Interior, as well as the president of the Co-ordination Centre for Kosovo and Metohia, Nebojsa Covic. Major-General Svetislav Djurdjevic reminded those present that the Serbian Ministry of the Interior had practically no competences in Kosovo and Metohia, and that the largest increase in violence in the area occurred immediately after the withdrawal of the Serbian police and the Yugoslav army.
In his closing statement, the chairman of the Committee, Dragan Sutanovac, said that the security situation in Kosovo and Metohia was at a very low level. This was the first time that the Committee discussed the security situation in Kosovo and Metohia.

21 May 2003 - Meeting of the Committee’s chairman, Dragan Sutanovac, with senior advisor of the Parliamentary Reform Programme of the OSCE Mission to Serbia and Montenegro, Johann Homs. Mr Homs presented a programme of seminars on parliamentary supervision of the defence and security sector for deputies of the Assembly of Serbia and Montenegro and Republic Assemblies, organised by the OSCE Mission to Serbia and Montenegro. The meeting discussed possibilities for Committee members to discuss and influence the budget of the Serbian Ministry of the Interior.

1 - 5 June 2003 - Committee delegation’s visit to Germany. The multi-party delegation, headed by the Committee’s chairman, Dragan Sutanovac, was made up of Ljubodrag Grbic (Liberals of Serbia), Bojan Kostres (League of Social-Democrats of Vojvodina), Dragan Lazic (Democratic Party of Serbia), Aleksandar Stefanovic (Christian Democratic Party of Serbia) and Zoran Nikolic (Socialist People’s Party). The visit, organised by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, was devoted to visiting police and intelligence bodies, meeting deputies who sit on related Bundestag committees, and visiting the German foreign ministry.
During a visit to the Ministry of the Interior of the state of Bavaria, the deputies were acquainted with statistics on the reduction of the crime rate and the percentage of crimes perpetrated by unknown individuals that are solved. The delegation also visited the directorate of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND), where talks centred on the method of work and key fields of activity, as well as on the means of internal and parliamentary control over the Service. During a visit to the German Federal Foreign Ministry, members of the delegation insisted that the German side should exert its influence to prevent a reduction in the number of KFOR and UNMIK personnel in Kosovo and Metohia.

11 June 2003 - Chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee on Defence and Security, Dragan Sutanovac, together with the chairman of the Committee on Kosovo and Metohia, Momcilo Trajkovic, sent a letter on 11 June 2003 to international organisations and institutions. The letter, addressed to the UN Security Council, the Foreign Policy Committee of the United States Congress, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, as well as to the Council of Ministers of the European Union, calls for those organisations to ensure equal rights for all people living in Kosovo and Metohia. The letter was sent according to the conclusions of the committees’ joint session held on 16 May 2003.

19 June 2003 - The Committee’s 19th session was held. The session saw discussion of the Bill on Preventing Violence and Improper Behaviour at Sports Events, as well of amendments submitted to the Bill. In the name of the submitter, the Serbian Government, the session was attended by the secretary of the Serbian Ministry of the Interior, Slobodan Miletic. The bill contains measures designed to prevent violence at sports grounds and details the competencies of the Ministry of the Interior, as well as those of sports organisations, societies, associations and other legal and physical entities dealing with the organisation of sports events. A new criminal offence is introduced in the Bill - Violent Behaviour at a Sports Event - and the penalty for it is imprisonment of between three months and five years. Members of the Committee adopted the Bill in principle and accepted a number of amendments which did not fundamentally change the Bill, and which were submitted by Deputies and by the Football Association of Serbia and Montenegro.

23 June 2003 - The Committee’s 20th session was held jointly with the Committee on Justice and Administration. The session was convened at the request of the Chairperson of the National Assembly, Natasa Micic. The agenda comprised issues relating to the struggle against organised crime and the murder of the Serbian Prime Minister, Dr Zoran Djindjic, in the light of information presented in public. Besides members of the Committee, other Deputies took part in the session, as did the Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, Cedomir Jovanovic, as well as Ministers of Justice and the Interior in the Government of the Republic of Serbia. The Committees received reports and information forwarded by the special public prosecutor, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of the Interior. It was concluded that it should be demanded of all state bodies to continue to perform their duties regarding the struggle against organised crime, and that a strict division of competencies should be observed in doing this. Both Committees demand that persons who actually are or believe they are in possession of facts or evidence related to the murder of Zoran Djindjic should present them to the relevant state bodies. The Committees also demand of all state bodies to enable further transformation and creation of institutions of a rule-of-law state. The Committees noted proposals that a board of inquiry should be set up in the National Assembly regarding the murder of Zoran Djindjic. Both Committees are of the opinion that the discussion on the means and conditions of combating organised crime must continue at sessions of both Committees, on the basis of conclusions reached at this session.

2 July 2003 - Meeting of the Committee’s chairman, Dragan Sutanovac, with First Secretary of the Embassy of Japan in Belgrade, Satoru Kurokawa. Mr Kurokawa expressed his country’s readiness to provide technical and professional assistance and so contribute to the reform of the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Serbia. He proposed that Japan and our country should establish co-operation in the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking. It was agreed to specify types and forms of assistance which are a priority for the Serbian Ministry of the Interior.

11 July 2003 - The Committee’s 21st session was held at the offices of the Security and Information Agency. The Deputies discussed the Information on the current security situation in the Republic of Serbia, as well as the Report on the Activities of the BIA for the period January – June 2003. The session was attended by ten members of the Committee as well as the Director of the Security and Information Agency, Misa Milicevic. t was unanimously decided at the beginning of the session, by a public vote, to close the session to the public, as well as to allow only members of the Committee to take part.

During the session, which lasted for about three hours, the Director of the Security and Information agency offered quite extensive and competent answers to the Deputies, who passed a positive judgment on the Report of the Activities of the BIA and the Information on the security situation in the Republic of Serbia. It was concluded that such sessions should be held more frequently in order to establish a practice of parliamentary control over secret services, ensure that member of the Committee have a better awareness of the security situation, and de-mystify the work of the BIA.

After the session, the Deputies visited the Security Institute.

16 July 2003 - The Committee’s 22nd session was held. The Deputies discussed the Report on the Activities of the Serbian Ministry of the Interior for the period January - June 2003. Members of the Committee were acquainted with the Ministry’s activities by the head of the Public Security Service of the Serbian Ministry of the Interior, General Sreten Lukic, and his assistants. He stressed that stable public order and peace had been preserved in Serbia, that the general security of people and property had increased, and that security in southern Serbia had been maintained. The priorities of the Serbian Ministry of the Interior in the coming period will be the arrest of the remaining members of the “Zemun clan”, the solving of murders whose perpetrators are still unknown, and the strengthening of measures implemented in the fight against terrorism and illegal drug trade.


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