Parliamentary oversight of security forces and ways of dealing with challenges in its implementation were the focus of the session of the Forum for Security Co-operation held under Serbia’s Chairmanship on 27 September 2017 in Vienna.
Marija Obradović, the head of the Defence and Internal Affairs Committee of Serbia’s parlaiment, noted that the process of implementating democratic control requires time and effort.
In Serbia, responsibility for the oversight of the army and the police lies with the Defence and Internal Affairs Committee, whereas parliamentary control of security forces is assigned to the Security Services Control Committee, both established in 2012. Two recently introduced practices have strengthened the Serbian parliament’s oversight, Obradović explained: regular briefings of the Committees by the ministries and the holding of public hearings.
„Over the past four years we managed to establish the practice of regular attendance of interior and defence ministers before the Committees, Obradović noted, adding that their appearances before the Defence and Internal Affairs Committee are live streamed on the parliament’s public website.
However, she stressed, the situation is different with the Security Services Control Committee the sessions of which are closed to the public.
“The real challenge is to establish a balance between the need to make the work of the parliamentary committees transparent and the need to protect classified data, which is sensitive for national security reasons,” Obradović said.