7-8 May, 2019, Podgorica, Montenegro: Workshop on Whistleblowing in the Security Sector

The Regional Workshop on Whistleblowing in the Security Sector takes place today and tomorrow, on 7-8 May 2019 in Podgorica, Montenegro. The Workshop is organized by the Centre for Security Cooperation (RACVIAC) in partnership with the Ministry of Defence of Montenegro and the Regional Anti-corruption Initiative (RAI).

 

 

South East European countries continue to face a number of challenges including corruption, lack of independence and impartiality of the judiciary and the prioritization of business interests over political integrity. The security sector is particularly vulnerable since it has to address corruption but ensure that security is not at risk. One of the measures that addresses the process of integrity building and related issues is the protection of whistleblowers. Although considered a controversial topic according to a recent publication of the Centre for Integrity in the Defence Sector (CIDS) the restriction of the ‘right to know’ on the grounds of confidentiality of state secrets sets the democratic legitimacy of secrecy against the democratic legitimacy of transparency which is more inherent to the notion of representative democracy.

Furthermore, the latest publication produced by the Southeast Coalition on Protection of Whistleblowers confirms the survey findings and claims that evidence shows that new laws do not always protect citizens and employees from being fired, demoted, harassed, sued or even prosecuted. These findings are being leveraged to close dangerous legislative gaps that expose whistleblowers to career, personal and financial ruin. Therefore, strengthened protection mechanisms are needed to bring about solutions to these and other challenges. Developing stronger rights of and protection for whistleblowers have been recognized and cited by Transparency International, EU, OECD and many others as essential elements of curbing corruption in the SEE region.

The objective of this two-day Workshop is to increase the capacity of the security sector in the field of integrity and corruption prevention as well as to increase awareness about innovative anti-corruption mechanisms but also the needed legal solutions and regulatory measures on whistleblower protection.

Opening the Workshop RACVIAC Director MG (ret.) Jeronim Bazo said: “Due to its specifies the field of defense has been identified as an area with high risks for misconducts and corruption. Public procurement, conflict of interest, financial control and data protection have been acknowledged as particularly vulnerable processes. In this respect, further actions and support to the respective authorities in South East Europe in strengthening their institutional integrity and resilience is needed.” He continued by saying: “The protection of reporting persons – whistleblowers – has been identified as one of the biggest challenges for all governments in South East Europe. I expect that all experts that have gathered here today will use the opportunity this Workshop provides to exchange experiences and best practices, to address the common challenges in the region, but also to further develop mutual contacts and networks among the participants from South East Europe. In accordance with RACVIAC mission to foster dialogue and cooperation on security matters in SEE, including corruption fighting, we see this Workshop as an excellent opportunity to coordinate efforts in this field”, concluded MG (ret.) Bazo.

In his opening remarks Mr Andrej Lakić, Head of the International Cooperation Department, Defense Policy and Planning Directorate, Ministry of Defense of Montenegro, said that Montenegro has adopted a number of laws aimed at combating corruption and organized crime in compliance with obligations arising from the ratification of international conventions and membership organizations within the field of prevention and fight against corruption. However, much remains to be done to develop a climate of openness and integrity that enables effective whistleblower protection, he emphasized.

Speaking on behalf of the co-organizer, Mr Vladan Joksimović, Head of Secretariat, Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative, said: “Significant steps have been made in the corruption prevention field: anti-corruption assessment of laws, corruption risk assessment in public institutions and protection of whistleblowers being at the forefront. Nevertheless, corruption remains a major threat to economic growth, stability and security in South East Europe. I am sure we can all agree that this is a reality as much as it is a perception. Corruption cannot be dealt with by individual governments only, and regional cooperation on anti-corruption has to be further strengthened.” Although some progress is evident at the national level, Mr Joksimović underlined that there is still a lot of work ahead because the implementation does not match legislation.

Being aware of the fact that integrity building in defence and security areas presents one of the common challenges in the region RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation, Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative and the Ministry of Defence of Montenegro have been implementing joint activities in the last couple of years. The first activity that looked into the emerging trends and experiences in the field of whistleblowing was conducted in 2016 and this year’s event presents a continuation of dialogue and exchanging of experiences.

The event gathers national professionals in the security sector  who manage whistleblowing cases and implement whistleblowing policies at national level.

The Workshop is envisaged as an active and vibrant environment that will enable all the participants to share their knowledge and experience and to learn about the topics from peers in the security sector.

You can find the Final Agenda and List of Participants here.

Presentations by speakers (please note not all speakers had a presentation)

Presentation Arjan Dyrmishi, SEE Coalition

Presentation Gregor Pirjevec, KPK Slovenia

Presentation Kristina Braletic, ASK Montenegro

Presentation Mevludin Dzindo, APIK B&H

Photo Gallery

For additional information, please contact RAI Secretariat on info@rai-see.org.

07 May 2019

RAI Secretariat

Albania

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bulgaria

Croatia

Macedonia

Moldova

Montenegro

Romania

Serbia


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