Resistance to corruption in South-East Europe study


In South-European countries, one in three penal judicial system professionals are aware of situations where there has been an attempt to influence the decision-making process. 33% of the cases are mainly direct cases. These are the conclusions of a Transparency International Romania study entitled "Integrity and Resistance of the Law Enforcement Bodies in South East European Countries". According to the study, the random distribution of cases is recognised as an efficient means to prevent political pressures and to offer the necessary safety to those working with high level corruption cases.

The study presents the situation in nine South-East European countries: Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Ex-republic of Yugoslavia and Macedonia, the Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia. The study is based on a questionnaire filled in by judicial system staff. Most of them consider that the penal judicial system is negatively influenced by the legislative instability, low incomes and mass-media pressure. Additionally, one in three professionals in the penal judicial system say they are aware of situations where decisions have been subjected to direct and deliberate influence attempts.

The press is seen to have a negative influence in the important corruption cases.

From the perspective of the standards

entailed by the study, the judicial practitioners consider that the legislative instability is one of the causes for corruption. Where the legislative framework is stable, there are problems related to regulations. According to the study, the mere inclusion of international standards is not enough to secure their enforcement. Another issue indicated by judicial practitioners is the reduced finance. The low income level can influence the independence of judges, prosecutors and police officers.

The study quotes interviewees to say the press is being used by politicians as a pressure instrument to influence institutions representatives handling important corruption cases. Judges, prosecutors and police officers also accuse the fact that confidential information leaks occur in the press during ongoing investigations. One of the negative impacts mass-media has is to create a false perception in the eyes of the public opinion in certain high-corruption cases, the analysis goes on. 73% of the judges, 61% of the prosecutors and 61% of the police officers consider that the press influences the judicial system in a negative way.On a regional level, the study indicates that the penal judicial systems are usually considered to be somewhat independent. Only 11% of the judicial professionals see it little independent or lacking any independence. 60%of the judges, 53% of the prosecutors and 47% of the police officers consider the penal judicial systems where they work totally or highly independent. As it is, many judicial professionals (41%) claim they were not subjected to pressures within the last 12 months. Similar answers were given when asked on political pressures when it comes to naming a judge, prosecutor or police officer: 75% of the judges, 73% of the prosecutors and 59% of the police officers said were not aware of such situations.

Nevertheless, almost one in three penal judicial systems' practitioners (29%) state they are aware of the situations when decisions were subjected to deliberate and direct attempts of influence. 33% professionals met with the situations when there have been attempts to influence the decision-making process - 30%of the interviewed judges, 31% of the prosecutors and 37% of the police officers.