Security Information AgencyБезбедносно-информативна агенција

Session of The Defence and Security Committee of The SerbIan Assembly

BIA in media / Danas - March 17, 2009

Saša Vukadinović, the BIA Director, on a session of the Serbian Assembly’s Defense and Security Committee 

The arrest of Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić is a priority

BIA will work on countering all forms of ideologically, nationally or religiously motivated extremism

Foreign Intelligence Services have contributed to disintegration processes, and certain intelligence systems tend to control other potentially critical areas as well “Šumadija”, “Kaktus” and “Mačva” operations, with the goal to collect information on crimes in Serbia during the ‘90s, were carried out in 2001 

“The security situation in Serbia is stable, however, there are certain challenges and risks, the greatest of which is unilateral proclamation of Kosovo and Metohija independence,” said Saša Vukadinović, the Director of the Security-Information Agency, yesterday on Assembly’s Defense and Security Committee session.

Vukadinović presented two reports to the Committee members - BIA Activity Report for last year and Report on security situation in Serbia, which were unanimously adopted by nine votes of the Committee members from the ruling coalition. Representatives of the opposition parties did not vote. 

Vukadinović stated that Agency’s priorities in this year were locating and arresting of the Hague indictees, Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić, countering terrorism and separatism, suppression of religious and other types of extremism, detecting the activities of foreign services, countering the organized crime and fighting terrorism.

Apart from Kosovo there are destabilization factors and risks in other parts of Serbia as well, stated Vukadinović, stressing that extremism has emerged in the south of Serbia, and in some regions there are groups acting from the position of religious and ideological radicalism. The BIA director has dedicated a greater part of his reporting to Kosovo and repeated that unilateral and illegal proclamation of independence of the Province had destabilized security situation not only in Serbia but in the region as well.

Situation in Kosovo is characterized by high level of tensions, especially expressed in the North of Kosovska Mitrovica area. Separatist Albanian factor tends to achieve as wider international recognition of independence as possible, and Serbian community is constantly exposed to pressure, incidents and psychological-propaganda activities, primarily in mixed areas and Morava-basin area in Kosovo – stated Saša Vukadinović, the director of the Security-Information Agency. 

According to his assessment, failure in tending to put north of Kosovo under Pristina’s control, and dissatisfaction and possible protests of Albanian nationals, caused by economic situation in the Province, could represent a motive for violence, primarily towards the Serbian population. In that case the south of Serbia could present an instrument for pressuring state organs towards the internationalization of the issue, with the aim to acquire autonomy and establish “special connections with Kosovo”. Vukadinović claims that Albanian armed criminal-terrorist groups are on alert on the critical point along the line dividing north and south of Kosovska Mitrovica. He said that radical Islamic movement followers cooperated with those groups, and they were also related to organized extremists from other parts of Serbia. 

Vukadinović stated apprehensions of Stojan Zupljanin and Radovan Karadzic as BIA’s last year successes. He asserted that Karadzic had been located and arrested by BIA members without involvement of other national or foreign agencies. 
“BIA’s priorities in 2009 are locating and arresting the two remaining indictees – Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić, and all Agencies’ resources are engaged in that task,” quoted Vukadinović.

He added that Mladić and Hadžić would be arrested if they were on the Serbian territory. BIA, according to Vukadinović, has identified the phenomenon of radical adherents connecting with Islamist movements, that cooperate with like-minded persons in the region and worldwide, especially with religious ideologists propagating extreme and militant forms of activity. He assesses that this could pose a long-term risk to stability, in which case the Agency will react for safety measures. Also, Vukadinović has pointed out that BIA will work on countering all forms of ideologically, nationally or religiously motivated extremism and then added that these phenomena do not have a public support. He specifically brought up multinational Vojvodina and warned about certain right-wing organizations trying to take advantage of discontent over Kosovo and violate human rights and freedom of mostly ethnic minorities’ members, something that Agency will prevent. In regard to foreign services activities in Serbia, Vukadinović said that BIA had a professional cooperation with certain services, but monitored the activity of other services with unfriendly attitude towards Serbia. 

- Foreign Intelligence services covertly active in Serbia have contributed to disintegration processes, especially in regard to Kosovo, and certain intelligence systems tend to control other potentially crises areas as well, in order to, if needed, activate them as new hot spots of destabilization – the BIA Director said. He also mentioned that those services took propaganda, and even informative actions. The majority of Committee members had objections regarding reports that in their opinion were meaningless and written based on the model of earlier reports. The Committee President Dragan Todorović (SRS) asked why both reports were classified as top secret since the context was published by many media centers. The Representatives asked Vukadinović number of questions. He answered some but avoided others pointing out that those questions were not for public session. He informed the Committee members about numerous topics that could be discussed in a closed session or at a meeting between the Agency and Committee members at the Agency’s premises. Answering the questions of the Committee members, Vukadinović said that a working group dealing with destroying documents after October 5 was formed. Information regarding human organs trafficking in Kosovo has been forwarded to the Office of the War Crimes

Prosecutor by BIA which hopes that these cases will be processed. 
Aleksandar Čotrić (SPS) expressed an interest in a position of certain State security’s case officers who had been directly brought in connection with the murders on Ibarska highway and Ivan Stambolić and Slavko Ćuruvija’s liquidation. Vukadinović said that a number of the aforementioned individuals were not with BIA anymore, but Goran Kuzmanović, Miša Milicević and Goran Zivaljevic, that Čotrić mentioned earlier, still performing certain duties. Answering radical’s questions, Vukadinović said that nobody kept Vojislav Šešelj from coming back to Belgrade, and also sent word to Branimir Djokić (SRS), Ratko Mladić family’s neighbor who asked him who was constantly following and eavesdropping them, that they can go together to his apartment and “tell who has been observing you”.

The BIA Director confirmed SRS representatives Dragan Todorović and Natasa Jovanović’s claims that operations “Šumadija”, “Kaktus”, and “Mačva” were carried out in 2001. Their goal was collecting information about the most serious crimes ever committed in Serbia during the ‘90s. The operations were initiated under the law and “56 individuals were processed” during that time, Vukadinović said, without answering the question whether Zoran Djindjić and anyone from his circles were also followed, claimed by Todorović, or whether the Supreme Court made a statement about eavesdropping. SRS leader Vojislav Seselj wrote about few of these operations, and Natasa Jovanović quoted some Agency’s documents regarding “Mačva” operation, which Vukadinović commented on in a way it was very sad that Agency’s documents ended up in some books. Vukadinović did not reply to the Kosovo situation since EULEKS’ arrival, stating that “BIA is not physically present in the Province”. Vukadinović made a conclusion that situation “wasn’t improving” based on reports from other sources. 

Radical’s reaction
There was a reaction to Vukadinović’s presentation regarding fulfilling the obligations towards the Hague Tribunal and the arrests of Mladić and Hadžić made by the Radicals Dragan Todorović and Zoran Krasić. “You don’t have to make such an effort”, Todorović said to Vukadinović.

Delic without the right to speak
Committee President Dragan Todorović did not give Božidar Djelić, Serbian Advanced Party’s Committee member, the right to speak. Djelić protested and then left the session.