MPs from the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SPP), Serbian Radical Party (SRP) and Dveri lied yesterday at the meeting of the Parliamentary board for judiciary, state government, and local self-government when they attacked the Ombudsman’s report for 2015 and Sasa Jankovic himself. They said that the Ombudsman has failed to protect the citizens from „bad government“, but made „tentative claims“, „with no ground“. It would be both correct and banal to point out that SPP MPs (and their satellites) acting as members of the Parliamentary board for judiciary, state government, and local self-government are clearly in a conflict of interest. The ruling party has usurped the state, identified with it and is using it to implement its own selfish interests. Yesterday’s meeting once again showed what an overlap of all three branches of government looks like – in a case like that, omnipotent government can only be restrained by independent government control institutions. At least until they break under the pressure of the entire misused government apparatus.
The Ombudsman’s report says that 2015 saw „economic adversities of many people and lack of legal security”. Furthermore, “the state and the administration were engaged in their own reform which is yet to produce clear benefit for the citizens”. The same remark was made a month ago by the new minister for state administration and local self-government, but SPP MPs didn’t criticize her for that, nor discard her opinion as tentative and ungrounded. (For example, the new minister praised her predecessor, but added that now she has to “implement” everything the last minister did. She didn’t explain what her predecessor actually did if nothing was implemented. The Ombudsman’s report, however, says the same thing – there were no benefits for citizens, which could be explained by the lack of “implementation”. The new minister went on to explain that sometimes reforms have to be put on hold, because “when you’re running a state you sometimes have other priorities”. She didn’t say what those priorities are, but that remark confirmed the report’s stipulations.)
Mario Reljanovic regularly writes about economic adversities and lack of legal security on this website, so there’s no reason to repeat his claims. Demolitions in Savamala are a compelling proof of an obvious “lack of legal security”. With all this in mind, exactly which part of the Ombudsman’s report is tentative and ungrounded? But, by trying to catch SPP MPs and their boss lying we’re missing a point. They didn’t really care about the truth at the Committee meeting, nor did they try to act as if they did. Just like always, they used this meeting to brutally demonstrate their ability to do and say literally anything, with firm belief that they won’t be held accountable by anyone, not even independent government control institutions. Instead of the truth, the more important thing was to talk about the possibility of Sasa Jankovic running for president at the next elections: an old catchphrase of SPP and its boss for presidential elections is “the end justifies the means” – the end, of course, being (unhinged) power, and the means, as we all know, a lie (and, if the need arises, violence). Once you seize power – they believe and have been clearly demonstrating it for four years – the fact that you lied and continue to lie is completely irrelevant.
The fact that SPP MPs and their boss lied is no surprise to anyone, especially with the elections coming. However, the fact that the Public prosecutor’s office joined them is a troubling one. The prosecutor’s office attacked another independent control institution: the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance. The prosecution claims that the Commissioner has endangered national security. Against the complaint filed with the Administrative Court, the Commissioner responded by listing articles of the law which authorize him to request information about the participation of officers of the Yugoslav Army in the conflicts in Kosovo, and, thus, missed the point. Because the lawsuit is not about the law and authority, but about legal arbitrariness of the Prosecution. On the one hand, the effort to establish the truth about crimes in Kosovo is treated as a threat to national security. On the other hand, they will bend the law as much as needed, in order to protect the war criminals under the guise of respect for human rights (the famous domestic “legalism”).
And so, we are witnessing a conflict of the state with itself. Unhinged government, represented by all three of its branches, is attacking the last shreds of state control mechanisms. By doing this, they are trying to hide their criminal past, while, at the same time, trying to secure their (criminal) future in the government. That’s rational politics, there isn’t one without the other. But it’s rational only if viewed from the criminal perspective. There isn’t a single reason for us to follow them in doing so and accept that perspective as our own.
Translated by Marijana Simic
Dejan Ilić (1965, Zemun), urednik izdavačke kuće FABRIKA KNJIGA i časopisa REČ. Diplomirao je na Filološkom fakultetu u Beogradu, magistrirao na Programu za studije roda i kulture na Centralnoevropskom univerzitetu u Budimpešti i doktorirao na istom univerzitetu na Odseku za rodne studije. Objavio je zbirke eseja „Osam i po ogleda iz razumevanja“ (2008), „Tranziciona pravda i tumačenje književnosti: srpski primer“ (2011), „Škola za 'petparačke' priče: predlozi za drugačiji kurikulum“ (2016) i „Dva lica patriotizma“ (2016).