When Democratic Party and Boris Tadic made a legal decision by which the coordination of security services was brought under the jurisdiction of chief of the president’s cabinet, they probably based this resolution on the premise that a man on that position has their full trust and necessary qualifications. Now, after Tadic’s defeat in the second round of presidential elections, the chief of the cabinet will be chosen by the political group whose triumph Tadic surely didn’t have in mind when regulating the operations of security services.
The fact that the same party (DS) has had the positions of the head of state, the secretary of defense and a great influence in the work of the Ministry of Internal Affairs during the several crucial years, probably contributed to the stabilization of the entire security sector and, ultimately, to finding and apprehending all Hague indictees. Also, it is likely that chief of president’s cabinet played a very important role in this process, so it can be concluded that the legal decision in question provided good results under the circumstances.
But, the problem is that in this and in many other cases the law was tailored not just in regards to the efficiency and sustainability of solutions, but also to the current balance of power in the political scene. Probably for this reason, the important function of the coordinator of security services was assigned to "the set person" or a person who was not elected by parliament but was chosen by the president of Serbia. Now, when a notorious thing became clear to everyone, that Serbian President is replaceable, the entire story is getting a different tone.
Since the party of the upcoming head of the state tried to protect Hague indictees in the recent past, before it split from the radicals, and has a different approach to a range of policy issues than the party of the former president, the question is whether there will be attempts to change something in the way of security services’ operations. Experts say that at this point it is not possible because a coordinator is nothing more than just a coordinator, and the responsibilities of these services are related to the Serbian government. But, the fact is that things will now be developing in a different political climate.
Therefore, the problem has quite a political nature and comes down to the fears of very European-minded circles in Serbia that Tomislav Nikolic as president might try to make the international position of Serbia more difficult by causing a regress in the matters related to security services. But, there are no serious indications or evidence for something like that. Formally, Nikolic and his party are in favor of European integration and it would not make sense if, in practice, they made moves to significantly hinder this process.
The entire matter of security services is not only related to the position of president’s head office chief. In case he decides to inflict political damage to opponents, Nikolic has other ways of using intelligence data. All services are obliged to submit reports to the president, which means that SNS would know all "state secrets". It’s good to remind that the President of Serbia is obliged to keep the secrets, that he was elected in democratic elections to represent all citizens of Serbia and should be trusted to obey the rules. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time that people from the "old regime" gained access to intelligence information. Ivica Dacic has had it for four years.
It would be really valuable if an important conclusion could be drawn from the entire case: legal decisions should be made to give an optimal result, regardless of which party is in power when these solutions are decided on. The problem doesn’t lie in the fact that (rather widespread) adjustment of paragraphs to present political needs, or staffing solutions available to some of the ruling parties, can have counter effects for that party, but in the fact that all this reduces the importance of national institutions causing potentially large damages the rule of law and democracy.