a

Investigations

During the Open Doors Day organized today, citizens complained to the Protector of Citizens Mr. Zoran Pašalić mostly about the violations of rights from the area of health care, pension and disability insurance, employment relations as well as about the work of courts, non-enforcement of court decisions, the work of the Tax Administration and existential problems. During the activity Open Doors Day, the Protector of Citizens personally conducts interviews with the citizens dissatisfied with the work of public administrative authorities in the Republic of Serbia. Today’s Open Doors Day was organized for the first time this year and more than 25 times in total, during which Mr. Zoran Pašalić spoke with more than 2000 citizens from Belgrade and from the interior of Serbia.

This form of communication with the citizens provides the Protector of Citizens with an immediate and more accurate insight into the everyday problems of the citizens that they face due to violations of their guaranteed human and minority rights.

The procedure of controlling the legality and regularity of the work of the Labor Inspectorate of the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Policy launched as the own-initiative procedure of the Protector of Citizens, after the death of two workers who were the citizens of Turkey in Čortanovci on 31 October 2019, resulted in filing criminal and misdemeanor charges in that case.

The Labor Inspectorate notified the Protector of Citizens that it filed a criminal charge with the Basic Public Prosecutor’s Office in Inđija against the natural person who was handling the crane, as well as against the direct manager of the deceased workers. At the same time, a request was filed for initiating misdemeanor proceedings against the employer and the responsible person within the legal entity who did not register the workers to the competent Labor Inspection in a prescribed manner and within the prescribed deadline. In addition, a request was filed for initiating misdemeanor proceedings against the employer who employed the deceased workers, citizens of the Republic of Turkey because he did not obtain a working permit for them in accordance with the Law on Employment of Foreigners. After obtaining the mentioned notification, the Protector of Citizens closed the control procedure over the legality and regularity of the Labor Inspectorate.

 

At the end of November, a complainant from the town of Kruševac filed a complaint to the Protector of Citizens stating that on 30 September 2019, she submitted a request to the Police Directorate in Kruševac for the reimbursement of 7,940 RSD that she paid to the account of MOI for taking a professional examination for a licensed security officer.

However, the complainant did not take this examination since the legal entity, where she was supposed to start working, ceased working. By the date of her filing the complaint, the complainant’s request was not responded to, nor were the funds reimbursed. The Protector of Citizens launched the control procedure over the work of the Ministry of Interior in November, and, the MOI submitted a document as soon as 20 and 26 December 2019 stating that after the launching of the Protector of Citizens’ control procedure, the MOI ordered the Ministry of Finance - Treasury Administration, to reimburse the funds to the complainant.

Today, the Protector of Citizens launched the procedure to control the legality and regularity of the work of the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Policy regarding the information that the employees in the company ‘’Kosmos Ltd.’’ were not paid their salaries as of November 2018. Most of the employees there are persons with disabilities.

‘’Kosmos’’ company which employs 39 persons, 27 of whom are disabled, is a business entity for employment and professional rehabilitation of persons with disabilities. This company is in the process of implementation of the prepackaged reorganization plan - following its adoption, previously initiated bankruptcy proceedings were suspended - and the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Policy has on two occasions transferred the funds to this company for wage subsidies for employees with disabilities.

January 13th, 2020

A number of towns and local self-government units were affected by the excessive air pollution for an extended period of time and neither the Ministry of Environmental Protection nor other competent authorities took any particular measures in that time period. Having this in mind and the need to address this problem more actively, the Protector of Citizens initiated an own-initiative procedure of controlling the Ministry of Environmental Protection, said the Protector of Citizens Zoran Pašalić today.

Ombudsman Pašalić recalls that, back in 2018, the air in the Republic of Serbia was officially rated category III (excessively polluted air) in Belgrade, Kraljevo, Valjevo, Kragujevac, Subotica, Sremska Mitrovica, Pančevo, Užice, Smederevo and Kosjerić. In all of these places, suspended particles PM 10 and/or PM 2.5 were the cause of excessive air pollution. The available data suggest that the contribution of road traffic to both pollutants was 6% each, while the majority of the emission was generated by District Heating Plants less than 50MW and from the individual heating furnaces.

The trend from 2018 has continued into 2019. Namely, the excessive air pollution in Belgrade, as well as in many other cities in Serbia where high concentrations of the mentioned particles were recorded over the last few months have justifiably concerned the citizens and the public and unambiguously pointed to the necessity of taking urgent measures in order to establish the recommended safe limits for the air quality.

Considering the fact that citizens received different information regarding the evaluation of the obtained results as well as the causes of pollution and the measures that the Ministry of Environmental Protection took or planned to take, Mr. Pašalić requested that this authority should provide the information on the following:
What were the reasons why, despite the negative air quality evaluation in 2018, the Ministry of Environmental Protection did not take or recommend measures timely in order to reduce air pollution and improve energy efficacy; 

Considering the fact that the expert public points to several different causes of air pollution, such as the burning of poor quality coal in thermal power plants, more intensive traffic, individual heating furnaces and current weather conditions, answer should be provided on the question if the Ministry of Environmental Protection analyzed the basic, dominant causes of high pollution individually by cities, and local self-government units;
whether the Ministry of Environmental Protection has, in relation to the identified major air pollutants, anticipated and proposed taking urgent short-term and long-term measures to combat them and what the measures were, and if not, why not;
whether the public is regularly and fully informed about the current situation, or whether citizens are provided with sufficient data on the type and scope of information on measured values, their importance, as well as the impact that measured values of pollutants might have on their health;

The deadline for the Ministry of Environmental Protection to respond is 15 days. After reviewing and evaluating the Ministry’s response, the Protector of Citizens will inform the public on further actions.

Following the procedures of control of the legality and regularity of the work of the Communal Police the Ombudsman conducted in regard to the body’s treatment of the "Istinomer" website’s team of journalists on 25 September 2015 and of the Crime and Corruption Reporting Network (KRIK)’s team of journalists on 21 October 2015 , the Ombudsman sent a public recommendation for the dismissal of Nikola Ristić ,the Chief of Communal Police of the City of Belgrade. A public recommendation was sent due to an established responsibility for violations of the rights of citizens who have caused damage on a large scale and due to repeated refusal of cooperation with the Ombudsman in control procedures.
The Ombudsman found there were drawbacks in the way the Communal Police of the City of Belgrade treated KRIK’s team of journalists on 21 October 2015, the most significant of which related to the illegal seizure of objects and deleting images from the camera. The Chief of Municipal Police unlawfully prevented the recording of treatment given by the Communal police, while giving false information about the seizure of items during control procedure, which is in apparent contradiction with the content of audio-video recording of the event available to the public.

Instead of complying with the request for access to information of public importance in the legally prescribed period and providing the requested information to "Transparency Serbia" organization, the Ministry of Economy delayed the whole process, and then incorrectly showed that the requested information on "Smederevo Ironworks" were protected and therefore could not be delivered. The Ministry also did not allow the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection to inspect the documents requested by "Transparency Serbia", and did not further act on his decision on the submission of the requested data, of which the Commissioner informed the Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman found that not even the certainty of payment of fines that the Ministry of Economy eventually paid in the amount of 200,000 dinars, made this body comply with the law.

Page 1 of 5