Source: Vecernje novostiIn our country there are no more precise rules regarding on which documents one can put secrecy mark. Serbia and Montenegro only in Europe do not have Law on Data Secrecy Classification.
In the paper HEADER, almost threatening was typed - "state secret". On another document the same message has been stamped. The data are strictly protected and therefore we shall not speak about them. Because, for disclosing the written follows punishment up to ten years in jail!
Therefore it is no secret, and especially not the state one, that Serbia does not have unique law that would regulate which documents can be labeled as secret. There are, however, sanctions for disclosing data, but no one knows which "papers" deserve to be hidden from the public eyes and locked behind seven locks. Serbia and Montenegro are only states in Europe without the Law on Secret Data Classification. In our country that area is "regulated" by a conglomerate of several hundreds of regulations, out of which most have been outdated and mutually juxtaposed. All in all, chaos.
- In such circumstances many are in a position to limit the right to have information based on unclear, imprecise and often arbitrary criteria, marking them as secret - points out Rodoljub Sabic, Commissioner for Information of Public Importance.
Prof. Vladimir Vodinelic, Manager of the Center for Law Studies Enhancement is even more specific:
- Today anything can be proclaimed a state secret!
In practice, it showed that secrecy labels have been "attached" both to the data about officials' salaries, data about sales of public companies, even Operations Rule Books. Although they are mentioned since old times, state and military secrets have become especially popular in the period when our state began cooperating with Hague.
Ex-FRY Government has often released the state officials from the obligation of keeping secret, most often due to testifying in front of the Tribunal. "The silence oath" has been exempt for ex-Yugoslav President Zoran Lilic, Deputy Head of Public Security in the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Serbia, Obrad Stevanovic, Radomir Markovic, Head of the State Security Service of Serbia. Simultaneously, secrecy marks have been rescinded from a pile of military regulations.
Personally freed from keeping the secret, due to interview with Hague Tribunal investigators, ex-Deputy Head of State Security Service Zoran Mijatovic says for "Novosti" that in 1999, when he has been retired for the first time, he signed a statement that he would keep secrets he came to know during performing his service. Nowhere, however, it has been precisely stated what is meant by a secret.
Mijatovi tells us that in ex-State Security Service, now Security-Information Agency, in his time the Rule Book on Service Operations carried the state secret mark. That document has been printed in "Official Gazette", but the whole circulation has been proclaimed secret. The employees do not receive a copy, and they are informed about the rights during the specialization course of the service.
- Each state body has some of its own regulations about what represents a secret, and on a case by case basis it is determined what information or documents shall receive that mark - notes Mijatovi. - For me it is incomprehensible that for instance, not even the judiciary bodies have access to all documents, but they depend on the estimated of the Head of the Service if the secrecy mark shall be dismantled. And this is not good for the whole process.
It is interesting that all members of the Defense and Security Board in the Assembly of Serbia, in charge of controlling the work of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Security Information Agency, have to sign a statement about keeping secret and confidential information available to them during their mandate. And exactly therefore, data about the salary of ex-Security Information Agency Head, Rade Bulatovic, didn't "leak" anywhere, because it was delivered to them with secrecy mark.
- In unfounded cases I ordered to put the information although they have formally carried the "secret" mark, at public disposal. Most often it has been done that way, but not always - says Sabic. - Drastic example is the case with PUC "Putevi Srbije" (Roads of Serbia), when behind the official secret hid data confirming big theft at pay tolls in the highway. The things exacerbated so much, that my order has been annulled by the Supreme Court... It took several months to execute the solution of the Commissioner, and to make those data public. Despite the order of the Commissioner, much time has been spent also for disclosing the Contract on Sales of RTB Bor (Mining-Smelting Basin Bor), about procurement of airplane between "Jat" and "Airbus"... And the concession about construction of the highway Belgrade - Horgoa was also recorded as a secret, and it has been publicized just after fierce pressure from the public.
A big step in regulating the data secrecy issue, according to the opinion of Prof. Vladimir Vodineli, has been made in our country when the Penalty Code has been adopted, and the Business Entities' Act. As a start it has been prescribed that under the veil of secrecy one can not hide criminal acts or corruption cases.
According to his words, the next step should be adopting the Law on Secret Data Classification. Vodinelic has participated in compilation of such legal proposal, whose adoption has been supported by the signature of 70,000 citizens, everything organized by the Youth Initiative for Human Rights. The text even entered Assembly Procedure, but his current destiny is - secret.
- Without that law, even the person who would request some information does not know whether he is entitled to do so, and the one who would give it does not know whether he can give it - points out Prof. Vodinelic. - This legal proposal envisages four levels of information secrecy. That "graduation" has been performed based on detrimental consequences that could occur in the society, or in a state authority, if a specific data shall be disclosed. A special authority, to which would turn anyone who finds a closed door, would issue "security certificates", without which certain data couldn't be available. Special rules are envisaged for our citizens, and special for foreigners.
Boxed bold text: PENALTIES FOR SPIES
Whoever tells, gives or makes available without authorization to unsolicited person, data or documents given to him that represent a state secret, or to which he gained access otherwise, shall be punished with jail sentence from one to ten years - has been threatened in the Penalty Code.
Jail penalty of three to 15 years shall result for anyone who delivers secret military or official data to foreign state or organization. The same law also "treats" business secret, for disclosure of which jail penalty is from three months to five years.
DEGREE OF SECRECY
Data EXTREMELY important for state institutions' management shall be treated as state secret, while military secret covers confidential data pertaining to uniformed formations of military units. And once accepted secret holding obligation shall be considered permanent. There are three degrees of military secret: internal, confidential and strictly confidential. The state secret protects strategic information pertaining to the work of the Government, Presidency, while the official secret means keeping data of Security Information Agency and the Ministry of Internal Affairs.