Respect of rule of law and legal procedure is key
- The most basic European value that Serbia needs is respect for the rule of law and legal procedure, said Sonja Biserko at the seminar “Serbia at another crossroad” hosted by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, just four days before elections in Serbia.
Biserko, the chair of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, said she is not expecting the country to move fast in that direction following these elections. She even warned that depending on the electoral outcome, reforms could be further stalled or reversed.
-The weakness of political elites is a fundamental problem, according to Biserko. Political parties are not offering programmes for solutions of the basic economic, social or political problems of the country. The whole concept of public interest is lacking in Serbia, she said.
Her analysis was discussed with Jon Kværne, Balkans Expert and Senior Adviser Ole B. Lilleås of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. Kværne pointed out the politics of symbols has dominated the electoral campaign. Lilleås maintained that when observing the campaign rhetoric and the polls it is clear that the point of gravitation in the new parliament will be in favor of EU membership but against the values that goes with a membership.
Biserko agreed, and said this is a fundamental problem that needed to be addressed and called on the international community to open EU negotiations as soon as possible, for continued support to the civil sector organizations that are promoting the rule of law, facing with the past and promoting human rights in Serbia in addition to engaging with potentially European-oriented segments of Serbian society like young leaders and professionals.
Sunday 6 May 2012 citizens of Serbia will vote in presidential, parliamentary, regional and local elections. Mina Skouen and Ole B Lilleås will be on site to observe the voting and to assess the implications of the conduct of the election campaign, the election process and its outcomes on democracy and human rights in the country on behalf of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.
Ole B Lilleås, Senior Adviser, Norwegian Helsinki Committee +47-415 06 236