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Group of States against Corruption publishes report on Serbia

Press Release

Strasbourg, 6 December 2010 – The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) today published its Third Round Evaluation Report on Serbia, in which it acknowledges the authorities´ efforts to comply with Council of Europe standards, but points out the need to fight corruption more actively and to strengthen the supervision of party funding.

Regarding the criminalisation of corruption [hyperlink to theme I report], the criminal law of Serbia complies, overall, with the standards of the Council of Europe Criminal Law Convention on Corruption. Nevertheless, GRECO calls on Serbia to address a few limited deficiencies, regarding, in particular, the legal framework applicable to the bribery of foreign jurors and arbitrators, as well as the possibilities to prosecute corruption abroad.

Serbia also needs to be more proactive in detecting, investigating and prosecuting corruption cases. More must be done to secure convictions not only for petty bribery, but also high-level corruption in the public sector. The authorities also need to remain alert to related problems, other than traditional bribery, such as trading in influence and corruption in the private sector. So far, very few investigations have been launched to date in respect of these offences.

Concerning transparency of party funding [hyperlink to theme II report], GRECO acknowledges that Serbia is currently engaged in a promising reform process aimed at improving accountability of political finances.

It remains of pivotal importance to significantly strengthen supervision so that the verification of party accounts is properly carried out and, thereby, it permits the detection of possible instances of improper influence and the effective punishment of illegal practice. The role of the Anti-Corruption Agency can prove to be essential in this respect.

In addition, the current rules on transparency must be further developed, including by better regulating donations in cash and in-kind, in particular the use of public facilities.

Moreover, as public access to information is one of the cornerstones of an effective system of supervision, it must be ensured that all political parties report on their financial situation and that these reports are made available to the public in a timely manner.

In the report GRECO addresses 15 recommendations to Serbia. It will assess the implementation of these recommendations in the second half of 2012, through its specific compliance procedure.