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League of Experts - LEX
Belgrade, Topličin venac 11,
Serbia and Montenegro

tel: +381 11 3034280, 3034281;
tel/fax: +381 11 3282975;
e-mail: office@lex.org.rs
Srpski English

Project Proposal


Author and coordinator:
Prof. dr Budimir Babović


Serbian police forces are one of the two main pillars (together with the party) which created a basis for the development of an autocratic system of government, while at the same time preventing democratic transition. The police is absolutely centralized and militarized, separated from the population and politically oriented, above all, to protection of the regime from the citizens and not to law enforcement. It is beyond any civilian control, since it is subordinated only to one person and one family. Despite its excessive size, it has not contributed to the suppression of crime and enhancement of the citizens' feeling of safety.

A systematic analysis and presentation of the problems should point to the significance of negative effects of the current organization of the police and its political abuse.

A complete revision of the concept of the security system and the proposal of new legal solutions impose themselves as one of the priority tasks in a struggle for democratic changes.


The short-term objective of the project entitled "NEW POLICE LEGISLATION IN SERBIA" is to offer alternative solutions with respect to the powers, organization and control of police forces in Serbia. It will be based on experiences and observations, as well as on analysis of solutions and experiences of democratic countries and countries in transition. Those solutions will be formulated in the internal affairs model law. Offered to relevant political and social forces, as well as to citizens (and members of police forces), this project should contribute to the enhancement of their commitment to democratic changes. In addition, in a number of cities and municipalities with democratic forces in power, this project can – even in the present circumstances - encourage them to introduce some kinds of supervision over the police, based on a systematic monitoring and registering of unlawful acts.

Long-term objectives refer to the period after the change of the current undemocratic regime. These objectives are oriented towards a transformation of the police organization into an impartial factor of stability of democratic institutions, which will be subjected to civil control and supervision, efficient in crime prevention and detection of perpetrators of criminal acts, uncorrupted, adequately equipped, rational as to its size, based on the principles of modern management and used in social control of conflicts as stipulated by law.


The project should be carried out in two stages.

The first stage includes preparation of relevant documents and elaboration of the internal affairs model law.

In the second stage , education of members of police forces will be organized (both at home and abroad) based upon a new concept and new solutions.

First Stage

The first stage will be implemented in four basic phases:

  • Definition and verification of basic elements for establishment of a new police forces concept through:
  1. Redefining of the mission of police in order to establish a new balance between different aspects of that mission. In this context police depolitization, deideologization and above all, professionalization are to be particularly focused;
  2. Decentralization of the police institution (assuming that decentralization of the overall political system in Serbia will be one of the basic principles in that area); in dealing with this problem, advantages and deficiencies of both a centralized and decentralized system will be considered;
  3. Community policing ( police de proximité );
  4. Reconsideration of the police forces structure;
  5. Consideration of an idea suggesting introduction of a court police;
  6. Reconsideration of current external and internal control mechanisms and promotion of new bodies for police work supervision forces (i.e. a special police ombudsman within the institution of the parliamentary ombudsman);
  7. Adoption of an ethical code;
  8. Reduction in the number of police force members and a proposal for solving the redundancy problem;
  9. Limitation of powers and discretionary rights;
  10. Education of police members (a detailed revision of the syllabi at different levels, with special emphasis on respect for human rights);
  • Listing of current police regulations, as well as listing of those solutions (provisions) in them which should be omitted, substituted or amended;
  • Research into legal solutions and practice of several countries: Canada, as an example of coexistence of a centralized and decentralized system and implementation of the concept of community policing; France, as an example of a centralized pluralist (complex) police system; Slovenia, as a similar country and a country in transition which has already gained experience in police transformation; this would provide a basis for reconsideration of the assumptions made in the context of the basic elements;
  • Presentation of results obtained in the first three phases of the project:

a) to experts by holding a round table with participation of domestic and foreign experts; and

b) to the general public, which will be acquainted, through the media, with the basic principles of approach to this issue and the relevant statements of the round-table participants.

  • Elaboration of the internal affairs model law, based on relevant documents prepared during the first three phases, taking into account the round-table discussion and results.
  • LEX will conduct a public campaign to present this model law by:
  1. a media campaign and
  2. a series of public presentations and forums organized for the needs of political parties and local communities throughout Serbia.

Second Stage

In the second stage, which can be implemented after a democratic change, the project will be oriented towards reeducation of police forces for the future state. Through training and systematic education they will be acquainted with the new concept of security and new approach to the performance of duties.

The contents and timing of the second stage will be elaborated after the changes.


First stage : twelve months upon adoption of the project, i.e.:

Phase I 3 months,

Phase II 1.5 month

Phase III (including a round table) 4.5 months

Phase IV 3 months

Second stage : two years.


Over a short term, the project should contribute to the enhancement of the citizens' awareness and knowledge with respect to their rights, as well as to their readiness to fight for the protection of those rights.

It is also expected that the project will encourage organized democratic forces to take a much greater interest in a democratic reconstruction of the police and to manifest it by their greater and more systematic involvement in this field.

Over a long term, implementation of the first stage of this project will create conditions for transformation of the police force from an anti-democratic regime stronghold into an institution of significance for a democratic civil society development.

Well-conceived decentralization should enable administrative units established under the Constitution (autonomous provinces, cities, municipalities) to exert a direct influence on determining duties of the services charged with maintenance of public order and peace in their region, as well as on personnel policy.

Larger cities will be able to set up their own police forces for performance of specified duties.

Ideas set forth in international instruments (universal and European) will be incorporated into national police legislation.

Democratic changes in Serbia and implementation of this project will enable reintegration of the Serbian and Yugoslav police into relevant organizations and international police cooperation (Interpol, UN, regional – European and narrower ones).

Final Remark

With this project proposal we intend to provide funds for the first stage of the project. Funds for the second stage of the project will be provided on the basis of successful results achieved in the first stage.

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