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What does the announcement of “systematic, comprehensive measures against crime and corruption” means?

kaznena politikaAt the press conference of the President of the Republic, whose words confirmed, standing behind him and at his side, Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, were announced "systematic, comprehensive measures against crime and corruption". At the conferencewas no mention of the measures to fight corruption crimes, but rather the change in the penalties for murder, rape, serious theft, illegal production of narcotics, for returnees, as well as the introduction of the lifelong imprisonment. This conference was held after a meeting of the National Security Council, which could be the explanation why an incompetent official spoke on this issue.

President read statistical data on convictions for serious crimes, showing that for many of them their sentences are belowthe legal minimum, which should be one of the reasons for the announced changes of the law. To make the story complete, we think that it would be reasonable to present at least some research that empirically proves that the number of murders, rapes, serious thefts and serious drug-related crimes are significantly reduced when the average length of prison sentence is increased.

When it comes to the announcement of the introduction of life imprisonment sentences for crimes which are even now fined with long-term imprisonment sentences, this obviously has little to do with crime prevention, but with the conviction of citizens that an irreparable perpetrator will not be able to repeat the crime.

Vučić announced changes of the law, but it is still not clear what is the exact problem to be solved. Namely, if it is considered that judges misapply the rules on easing penalties below the legal minimum, this may be the result of the court practice which broadly interprets the reasons for easing penalties or corruption in individual cases.

However, although the general message sent from this conference was that judges massivelydo not apply the law and that they do so for the benefit of criminals, Vučić also made an obvious contradiction - that 99% of them are doing their job well.

Less attention was paid to the much larger and potentially more important news announced at this press conference - limitation of the time period for criminal proceedings for a year. In this context was mentioned the criminal trial in the case of Kragujevac Faculty of Law, which entered in the second decade with great chances to become obsolete. It is completely unclear what would be the consequence if the deadline breaks - would the criminals be automatically released after 12 months, whether the judge would have been punished or after that time would cease the possibility of presenting evidence and discussion (as in the Assembly after the expiration of ten hours can no longer be discussed on amendments). However, it is difficult to imagine a solution that would be in accordance with the rest of the legal system.

In the end, but most important: this is another case that citizens get the announcement of implementing some measures of state policy, but without any possibility to check whether these announcements are true and without the possibility that someone competent, whom citizens believe, will assess whether the measures will achieve goals that the political leadership promises.

Namely, Vučić (this time unknown whether as the President of the State, as the head of the National Security Council or as the head of the party that has the majority of deputies) related to that said:

"We needed a lot of time to prepare a part of these measures. They will be available to the public in twenty days, and in the National Assembly, whether we will go as the majority of deputies or as the Government, I would like as the Government, of course I think that Ana will present it to the ministers and make a decision on this issue, we are going with such measures and it will be a difficult struggle, because now specialists will go to various embassies and talk about human rights, criminals will unite ...”

If measures will be prepared "in twenty days", it would be better to wait with the promotion until the draft amendments and supplements to the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure are published.

It is unclear who prepared measures so far and who will prepare them for the next 20 days. Namely, it is clear from Vučić's statement that the draft amendments to these two laws are being prepared outside the competent Ministry of Justice, since the issue of proposers is viewed exclusively as technical - may be proposed by the Government, and if not, a majority of deputies will propose and also adopt laws.

Whoever is proposer, it is announced that public will be “giveninsight” to these measures. On the other hand, what is required by the Law on State Administration is to open a public debate on important law changes. The aim of such public debate should be improving draft laws, rather than filling in a form.