The Assembly should withdraw the questionable criterion for selection of the new Commissioner

Civil society organisations urge the Committee for Culture and Information of the National Assembly to withdraw a requirement from calls to the parliamentary groups regarding nominations of candidates for the election of the new Commissioner for Information of Public Importance Personal Data Protection, which forbids that the candidate be employed in another state body at the time of proposing for the function, as that is not stipulated by law.

This criterion is an eliminating factor for all candidates currently working in state bodies, including the Commissioner’s Office, and is contrary to article 30 of the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance, which states that a person selected for the position of the Commissioner cannot continue to work in another state body.

The signatories of this announcement also indicate that the competent Committee of National Assembly initiated the procedure for selection of the new Commissioner almost six months after the expiration of Rodoljub Šabić’s mandate, and foresaw only five working days for the submission of proposals. Besides, the calls were sent uniquely to parliamentary groups and not to the interested public.

If the new Commissioner is selected in such a procedure, the legality and the legitimacy of this independent state body will be violated, and the democratic system in Serbia further compromised.

The above-mentioned organisations prompt the  Committee for Culture and Information  to accept suggestions for process transparency, openness and integrity criteria when selecting the new Commissioner. More than 80 civil society organisations, media, business, professional and scientific communities’ representatives submitted the said criteria to the National Assembly. In this way, the public would be adequately informed and included in the process of selection of the new Commissioner.

Signatories of this announcement are: Belgrade Centre for Security PolicyCRTALawyers’ Committee for Human Rights – YUCOMPartners for Democratic Change SerbiaSHARE FoundationTransparency Serbia and Open Society Foundation Serbia.