Years ago, my friend and I tried to explain the reasons for the mass emigration from the country. The reason for such a conversation was the increasingly frequent departure not only of the young, but also of people of our generation, middle-aged people, people with grown children and with solid incomes. I understood their decision, but my friend did not, and so, with a touch of contempt, asked me what was the thing they were missing in our country so much that they can get somewhere else with the same salaries.
I told her – “quality of life”, which is not obtained (only) with money, going to cafes and going to vacations (which are the only criteria for quality of life in our country), but with legal certainty, with the ability to plan your future, to plan your family budget, not be dependent on politics, political parties and news, to live your life for yourself and not for others. And most important of all – the equal validity of rules for all, that is, the non-existence and non-use of double standards.
It’s been a while, my stance that we live according to social quasi-values that are becoming an increasing motive for leaving the country has remained the same, no matter how I try to change them (of course, within the opportunities available to me). Unfortunately, my friend’s stance has evolved, and now she sadly concludes that “nothing here is right”, regardless of the profession, the institution in which we work, the school where our children study. And no – I do not intend to criticize (only) the government and blame it for the nightmare we live in, but I’m just trying to point out the personal contribution of each socially aware citizen to this situation.
What have each of us done not come to this? How many of us (as parents) contributed for all 35 children in their child’s class complete their school year with straight A’s? Or, how many of us prevented or tried to prevent this situation? Do you think this is irrelevant, that it cannot be put in the same context of today’s events, affairs, crime, corruption, and the like? I think it’s very important and linked. But this is a completely different topic. I just want us to talk about the social, in addition to political responsibility. In that direction I remember the words of a great, really great professor of criminal law, whose lectures were filled up to the last chair in the amphitheater of the Faculty of Law – The Government is a reflection of the people!
Let’s go back to the double standards that discourage and demotivate, while taking the current events in the country into account. In addition to the numerous bargaining and mocking analysis of the “Racket” case, beside all comments on the expertise, the performance and the future of the prosecutor who heads the Department of Organized Crime, a debate on the future of the SPO was opened. It motivated me to write about the following position: “Accountability should be individual, not collective”. This sounds very correct, legally sound, most likely at this point even politicaly opportunistic. But this position expressed especially by people (lawyers) who represent the government or its supporters is a position tailored by double standards! It’s a tailoring the truth according to one’s own measurements.
Would we be honest and recall how the SPO occurred? The idea of a special prosecutor’s office was the result of the non-functioning, that is, the partisan functioning, which is ultimately unlawful work of the previous State Public Prosecutor. He refused to act on the so-called “bombs” released by the then-opposition. Moreover, he himself was involved in some of the “bombs”, the former Interior Minister mentioned the name with unprecedented ease when he promised “arranging a case”. The public did not hear or see anything bad, unlawful, or indecent about the rest of the prosecutors. However, starting from the hierarchical setup of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, it was completely avoided (rightfully) in prosecuting the crime of wiretapped conversations and the SPO with a limited time of functioning was formed at the same time. In this way, the individual responsibility of the head of the then-Prosecutor’s Office grew into a collective responsibility of the entire institution, although this institution always had, and still has excellent staff.
Nowadays, equally terrifying for justice in the country, there is a case of suspicion of unlawful and unethical conduct of the head of this newly established, Special Public Prosecutor’s Office. So how will the responsibility be individual, only her own and personal in this case, and completely avoid the institution that she is heading? How can the unethical, unprofessional and without integrity (not to mention unlawful) conduct by the responsible and managerial person in one case affect the institution it manages, and in the other case it does not have any influence? Especially if it comes to almost the same institutions, both set on the principles of strict hierarchy and subordination. Not only from a formal point of view, this is impossible because the institution does not have a signatory, but it is unfair in comparison with the decisions taken and the actions undertaken in the past. It does not matter at all about the quality of the other prosecutors, investigators and professional service in the SPO. Most of them are probably of quality, well-trained, and professional in doing their jobs. As are the prosecutors from the regular Prosecutor’s Office.
Then, as it is now, my view was that in the presence of specific, unusual, extraordinary circumstances, individual responsibility almost inevitably leads to a collective one. This was my opinion when the SPO was formed in parallel with the existence of the PPO. I also thought of this when I advocated collective responsibility of the Judicial Council, which was even worse, more partisan and unlawful than the prosecution. However, the collective responsibility has went around the Judicial Council, because the political elites (perhaps influenced by the international community) have not accepted such a solution, but we see where we are with the responsibility of the judges. I have the same attitude to the SPO after the current events. The duration of the institution in the format in which it existed and worked expired fast under the influence of the current events. Citizens’ trust is worn out. It is necessary to substitute it with another institution or organizational unit of this kind, and for staff of quality there will always be (or we must do everything to have) room in the institutions. This is an attitude that can be debated, for which I am sure there are counter-arguments, but it is consistent.
Inconsistent politics is the worst kind of politics. It creates inequality and injustice. It creates bitterness in one’s throat, even in those who work and earn their keep. It evicts, both young and elderly.
Views expressed in this article are personal views of the author and do not represent the editorial policy of Nezavisen Vesnik