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Institutionalizing the Prevention of Corruption in Security Forces: Enhancing Preventive Structures


March 11-14, 2002, Sofia

The Center for the Study of Democracy and the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies jointly organized a regional conference "Institutionalizing the Prevention of Corruption in Security Forces: Enhancing Preventive Structures" held from March 11th to 14th, 2002 in Boyana Conference Center, Sofia.

Being a part of a series of events organized by the Marshall Center (see also the conference "Corruption within Security Forces: a Threat to National Security" held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in May, 2001), the conference aimed to examine and assess the threat posed by organized crime and corruption to the national security in the region by streamlining the anticorruption strategies and future activities of cooperation in that area.

The conference brought together approximately 50 senior executives from governmental security organizations from 11 countries of Southeast Europe (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Macedonia, Moldova, Rumania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Bulgaria) well as special observers from international organizations and local NGOs.

The Bulgarian delegation included 10 representatives, among them Col. Roumen Milanov, Director, National Service for Combating the Organized Crime, Col. Svetlin Michaylov, Adviser, National Service for Protection, Col. Plamen Galabov, Deputy Director, National Security Service, Dr. Lyubomir Stamenov, Dean, Security Department, Academy of the Ministry of Interior, Lt. Col. Nikolay Yordanov, Chief, Analysis and Information Department, Ministry of Defense and Col. Vasko Balabanov, Chief of the Military Contra-Intelligence Department, Ministry of Defense.

High-level representatives of Bulgarian governmental security institutions were also present: Gen. Dimo Gyaurov, Head of the National Investigation Service, BG Plamen Studenkov, Director of the Defense Information Service with the Ministry of Defense as well as representatives of the Supreme Cassation Prosecutor's Office and Customs Agency with the Ministry of Finance.

Ambassador Victor Jackovich, Associate Director of the Marshall Center and Bulgarian Minister of Defense Nickolay Svinarov provided opening remarks. Delegate discussions were assisted by expert presentations and workshop direction from current and former members of the Lithuanian Special Investigative Service, the Bulgarian Ministries of Defense and Interior, the FBI, the BKA, the German Armed Forces, the US Departments of Defense, State, and Justice, and the American Bar Association. Special presentations were provided by a number of officials from each delegation during the conference.

In his opening speech the Minister of Defense Nikolay Svinarov pointed out that army was among the state institutions least affected by corruption. Similar violations are rather single cases, he added. The government has firmly decided to fulfill its commitment to fight corruption. This commitment is part of the "contract with the voters", which was "signed" between the people and the government of the prime minister Simeon Sax-Coburg-Gotha after his party won the parliamentary elections.

Mr. Roderick Moore, Charge d'Affairs at the US Embassy in Sofia, emphasized "the tremendous job of raising public awareness on corruption done by organizations such as CSD and Marshall Center". However, the fact that there is not a single, prominent corruption case that has ended in a prison term for a Bulgarian government employee is highly surprising and this high level of tolerance for "white collar" crime is highly damaging the economy, the democratic system and the international reputation of Bulgaria, Mr. Moore added. He gave examples of the high percentage of convicted public officials in the USA which brought to a high public confidence in local police forces in the country. Mr. Moore also highlighted the importance of the judicial reform in as a necessary step toward curbing corruption in Bulgaria.

It is indispensable that new structures for internal control within the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defense are established, said the former minister of defense and director of the European Program at CSD Ambassador Boyko Noev in his closing remarks. The new units are necessary because the two ministries are the main institutions which have created special bodies to fight all kinds of violation of law and corruption in particular.

The conference proceeded in several plenary sessions and specialized workshops in a four-day format with the following topics included in the agenda:

  • Effectiveness of current structures to prevent corruption
  • Character-Building and Standards/Codes of Ethics
  • Accountability-enhancing structures and internal control mechanisms
  • Assisting investigators and prosecutors within the Security Forces
  • Enhancing NGO cooperation/Public-Private cooperation
  • Enhancing international cooperation

Energetic discussions among the participants significantly increased mutual understanding, raised awareness of potential cooperative efforts, and laid the groundwork for a consensus on specific steps that countries can undertake in the fight against corruption within the Security Forces.

A cocktail reception hosted by the Minister of Defense Mr. Nikolay Svinarov took place on the first day of the conference. Mr. Anton Stankov, Minister of Justice of Bulgaria, LtCol. D. Maas, Military Attache at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany and Col. Barry Shade, Defense and Air Attache at the US Embassy in Sofia were also present.

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