From the very beginning of their work, rumors were spreading that the members of the High Judicial Council and the State Chamber of Prosecutors decided to declare the data and opinions on the candidates for the positions of judges and prosecutors a state secret. Word was that they were sworn to secrecy by signed statements, and that they assessed the merit of candidates on the basis of dossiers provided by secret police. Thus the apocryphal records from several sessions of the State Chamber of Prosecutors, dating back to November 2009, which circle around urbi et orbi and speak exactly of such practice, offer noting essentially new, apart from several spicy details on the names of actors and on who came to visit whom.
We still don’t know whether the records are genuine or not. It remains doubtful whether we will learn the answer to this question even after the response to the request submitted by the Commissionaire for Information of Public Importance, unless clear and full confession follows. Thus, we are dealing with assumptions. However, such as they are, these assumptions are so ominous that they require our attention. What may we deduce if this information proves to be authentic?
First of all, we would know that these high judicial bodies failed to tell us the truth when at one point asked to do so. And if they failed to tell the truth about this, it is hard to believe that the rest of the story is true.
If the secret police gathered data about judges and prosecutors, if instead of either destroying such data or making it public after the so-called political changes, the secret police decided to keep it, and secretly put it at the disposal of certain groups at their equally secret request, and especially if our highest judiciary bodies, which should be proving their credibility by questioning such behavior, based their work on it instead, and believed such behavior to be regular, worthy of attention and acceptable for ascertaining important facts – then legal security would be shaken from its foundations, and our trust in the honesty of the intention to ever establish a rule of law would be brought into question.
For whose benefit and with what justification could the judges and prosecutors be considered a security risk, and consequently secretly surveyed, recorded and controlled? Based on whose and what kind of approval and order? Who else could have the authority to hold them in their power in such a way, but those who have been creating an arsenal of information by violating every possible right, in order to use this information for subjugation and potential blackmail through improper requests? Bora Cosic recently described the work of the secret police as historical holdings of an entire society, which can bring us only a little truth, in addition to the myth it establishes, followed by a lot of editing and false accusations. Who in the judiciary, and with what authority, could have the right to consider such data as trustworthy? Who could have the right to toy with the fate of thousands of citizens based on this data? And, finally, what degree of independence can be expected from those who know, or at least sense, that the secret police is keeping them on a short leash?
If all that has been put aside, at least we could, or rather we should challenge the worthiness of all those who chose such an unworthy method to assess other people’s worthiness. And not worthiness only! We could also rightfully ask whether basic human rights and freedoms have been violated, as well as election criteria, has the official authority been abused and has there been indirect involvement in the election procedure of bodies and services that should have nothing to do with the judiciary reform. What would follow, understandably, is the question of legal validity of decisions that have been made.
The fact that the abovementioned situation is hypothetical would make all these questions rhetorical, were it not for the bitter experiences with other flaws of the judicial reform and other roles of the secret police.
Translated by Bojana Obradovic