Newsletter 3/2010 - Activities in brief

South East European countries agree on the need to step up efforts in fighting corruption

A two-day regional South East European (SEE) anti-corruption conference, held in Bucharest on 20-21 May 2010, concluded that the countries of the region should develop more effective mechanisms to fight corruption.

The conclusion came following the results of a comprehensive study on integrity and resistance to corruption of the judicial systems in nine SEE countries ( Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia).

The document revealed that judicial system practitioners were satisfied with the activities of inter-governmental bodies, stressing that regional mechanisms could represent additional means to facilitate faster response in high level corruption cases.

The survey also found that one in three practitioners of the criminal judicial systems was aware of situations in which theirs or their colleagues’ decisions were subject of direct and deliberate influencing attempts. The random distribution of cases is seen as an appropriate means to prevent political pressures and ensure professional dealings with high level corruption cases. The national legislation was generally assessed as good, but a necessity to fully implement it was emphasized.

The study highlighted the need to adopt and enhance strong protection mechanisms for the legal practitioners dealing with high level corruption cases, as well as for whistleblowers and witnesses. It recommended that the hiring/appointment system be based on relevant professional knowledge and track record, training is ensured on a continuous basis, and the promotion systems take into account performance indicators. Simultaneously, public awareness of negative effects of corruption and positive aspects of public integrity needs to be raised. Additionally, a regional policy on cooperation on the investigation, prosecution and trial of high level anti-corruption cases should be developed, along with a regional mechanism for assets recovery.

The event was organized by the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), the Regional Anticorruption Initiative (RAI), and the Transparency International (TI) Romania, in cooperation with the Romanian Chamber of Deputies and the Ministry of Justice, as well as the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It also marked the 10th anniversary of RAI.

The speakers included Ministers of Justice of Romania and the Republic of Moldova, Catalin Predoiu and Alexandru Tanase, respectively; Secretary General of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Ministry of Security, Bakir Dautbašić; Vice-President of the Superior Council of Magistracy of Romania, Gratiana Isac; RCC Secretariat’s Senior Expert on Justice and Home Affairs, Virgil Ivan-Cucu, Executive Director of TI Romania, Victor Alistar; and RAI Chairperson, Vesna Ratkovic. Heads of anti-corruption structures in the ministries of justice and interior, public prosecutors’ offices and magistrates’ councils of SEE countries, regional organizations active in justice and home affairs, representatives of the EU, the UN and other relevant international organizations, professional associations and international experts took part in the conference.

The survey report ‘Integrity and Resistance to Corruption of the Law Enforcement Bodies in South East European Countries’ is available at the RCC website (directly at