#10 ENSURE A MORE ACTIVE ROLE OF THE PUBLIC PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE IN THE ELECTION PROCESS
The state must ensure the freedom of voters to express their wishes and must fight against election rigging (VC I.3.2), i.e. it must punish any type of election rigging (I.3.2.xv). In order for these standards to be met, it is necessary to undertake the following:
a. Introduce the practice of adopting the general mandatory Instructions of the Republic Public Prosecutor for elections
A more active role of the public prosecutor’s office in monitoring the conduct of elections and the protection of the electoral rights is needed. The Republic Public Prosecutor could issue in writing the general mandatory instructions for the actions of all public prosecutors in order to achieve legality, efficiency and uniformity in the conduct of criminal proceedings related to criminal offenses against electoral rights from Chapter XV of the Criminal Code. With these general mandatory instructions of the Republic Public Prosecutor, it would be necessary to a) introduce an obligation for the competent prosecutor’s offices to act urgently, and that the Deputy Republic Public Prosecutor decides on appeals against the decision to reject criminal charges, which can be submitted by any voter, b) to designate, by an internal act, prosecutors with the most professional experience and personal and professional integrity who will act in these cases, introduce optimal work load and work in shifts or on-call; and to form independent groups in the existing special departments of higher public prosecutor’s offices for the fight against corruption, to detect and prosecute crimes against election rights. Members of these groups would be appointed from all bodies involved in the conduct and oversight of the elections, and c) ensure greater transparency of work, through the obligation to timely and fully inform the public about the procedures, through holding regular and extraordinary press conferences during the election campaign, informing about any attempt to influence the work of the public prosecutor’s office, and publishing excerpts from decisions on the website of the competent prosecutor’s office.
b. Improve coordination between competent institutions in monitoring the conduct of elections
Competent institutions should act in a coordinated manner, proactively, and should inform the public in a timely and complete manner about the initiated actions and actions taken. The existing legal framework envisages the possibility of concluding a Memorandum of Cooperation between the Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Ministry of Interior, the Republic Electoral Commission, the Provincial Electoral Commission, the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, the AntiCorruption Agency, courts of general and special jurisdiction, and others, which would provide for the establishment of a Coordination Body for the Oversight of the Conduct of Elections. The memorandum would prescribe special protocols on cooperation between these bodies during the election campaign, and especially on the Election Day, which would provide for shorter deadlines for acting and submitting the necessary information and data to the public prosecutor’s office, regular meetings and efficient and timely exchange of information between signatory bodies. On the basis of the Memorandum, a Coordination Body would be established, headed by the Deputy Republic Public Prosecutor, and the members would be representatives of all the above-mentioned bodies. The Prosecutor who would be the head of the Coordination Body would coordinate their activities with the institutions signatory to the Memorandum of Cooperation, inform the public about the number of complaints and actions taken by the competent public authorities at regular and extraordinary press conferences.