Security Information AgencyБезбедносно-информативна агенција

Dičić: BIA intercepts without clear cause

BIA in media / Blic - December 20, 2008

Dispute between the Special Court Judge Radmila Dragičević-Dičić, who said that some interceptions are not according to the Constitution, and Miroslav Panić from BIA, who asserted that there were no abuses, marked the meeting regarding the first reform of security services, held yesterday in Belgrade.

The Judge Radmila Dičić criticized bad law decisions and mentioned that interception measures last for a too long period without any reason.

- In some cases, during my practice, there were intercepted conversations with intimate matters that had nothing to do with the proceeding. It would be good to present the information on the total number of citizens that are being intercepted and for how long a period. In the BIA Law it is stated “according to the BIA Director’s decision with preceding agreement of the Supreme Court President” an individual can be intercepted, however this is not consistent with the Constitution. It should be written “according to court decision upon the proposal of the BIA Director”, concluded Dičić.

Before her Vladimir Todorović, editor of “Srpska pravna revija” (Serbian Law Journal) said that bad law decisions permit the abuse of application of interception measures. 

The BIA representative, Miroslav Panić requested to speak and emphasized that with such statements an impression was created that the BIA intercepts who ever the service wishes without the Court permission, and that is, as he said, not at all true.

- From the beginning of this year, special authority of the BIA Director has not been used a single time. In that article, it is prescribed that the BIA Director must appeal to the Supreme Court President, who gives the agreement for interception application before the formal Supreme Court Decision. This can last only up to two days before the Court makes the decision. This authorization is most frequently used in terrorist cases, said Panić.

He then asked both Dragičević-Dičić and Todorović based on what have they concluded that the BIA intercepts who ever the service wants. Judge Dragičević-Dičić asked - Are you angry. I hope you are not.

- Well, I am angry, said  Panić

The judge answered that she, personally, could believe him.

- That is not the problem; however, there are no legal guarantees that would convince the citizens and judges that there are no abuses, stated Dičić.

- Todorović participated in the discussion and stressed that he was not talking about abuses but about the legal framework, which is not sufficient.    

- It would be good to present full information and not only that no interception measures were applied by the BIA Director’s special authorization in this year, added Dičić.  

The BIA representative stated that there is no information about how many special authorizations of the Director have been used.

- This legal solution might be technically poor, but the essence is important. The request for intercepting an individual is always submitted to the Supreme Court President! It is never done without it, concluded Panić.

The Judge Dragićević-Dičić then said that it should be exactly stipulated in the law what the BIA should submit so that the court could give an approval for interception.

- For now, this is lacking in the law, and the reasons for interception must not be a secret for the court, concluded Dičić.