After the completion of the reform of the communications monitoring system, through the establishment of the Operational and Technical Agency, effective since November 1, three models for reforming the security-intelligence system in accordance with the recommendations of Reinhard Priebe are currently part of a wider expert debate.
The Security and Counter-Intelligence Directorate and the Intelligence Agency to operate as before – the former within the MoI, and the latter as a separate body. The second model is the UBK to be outside the Ministry of Interior, and the third is the establishment of a new agency that would incorporate the UBK and the Intelligence Agency and would act outside the MoI.
According to the action plan, according to the Minister of Internal Affairs, Oliver Spasovski, at yesterday’s Scientific-expert debate on the topic “Reforms of the Security and Counter-Intelligence Directorate” held at the conference hall of the Faculty of Security in Skopje, the Ministry of Interior should, by November 15, and propose one of the three models to the Government that will be additionally analyzed through an action plan for legislation and all by-laws.
The reforms in the security-intelligence sector are understandably part of the criteria that must be met as a condition for becoming a NATO member, in the direction of providing more successful collaboration and cooperation among the member states.
The first people of the security intelligence institutions so far have been quiet as to what model is currently considered favorite. They first want to hear the opinion of the expert public.
Professor Tome Batkovski came up yesterday with a concrete proposal model that includes a new name and a new national security law. He believes that a National Security Agency should be established outside the Ministry of Interior, which will have no police powers. It will be horizontally connected with a specialized department in the Ministry of Interior, which will carry out police affairs, and will have a close connection with the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Intelligence Agency, the Ministries of Defense and Finance. The model that now exists, that is, the UBK to function within the MoI, is an outdated solution, according to the professor, which has been abolished in the neighboring countries.
According to him, a law on national security or a law on the security-intelligence system should be adopted. Within it, to determine the place and responsibilities of the security entities that will constitute it. In that direction, as he points out, to establish a supreme body under the name of the National Security Council, which will play the basic role through its two sub-bodies for the coordination and council office to perform practical determination of the state priorities of the security-intelligence plan.
For Professor Marijan Nikolovski, what presents a disadvantage in many segments is that the UBK does not have its own law, and works according to the law on internal affairs. “The UBK and classic criminality are under the same hat. Acts against the state where the penal policy is over ten years are put in the same rank by distinguishing criminal acts from classical crime,” said Nikolovski.
Control of the staff is also a problem. People are being employed without competition, and with a suspicious capacity. According to Nikolovski, this must be changed by introducing strict criteria.
The reforms are expected to ensure the functioning of the services in accordance with international standards and rules, protecting and guaranteeing state interests. They should allow the services to act free from political influences, but also from criminal structures and groups.
“UBK should experience a reform of consciousness, of the mind. Mechanisms for professional staff should be created that will act contrary to the old way of thinking and managing,” said Interior Minister Oliver Spasovski.
Head of the UBK, Goran Nikolovski, believes that the reform in this sector should take place in five steps. The first is the establishment of OTA, and the second is the choice of a model that will professionalize, democratize and depoliticize the institution. According to him, it is extremely important to establish the coordination of the security-intelligence system, which basically does not exist at the time being. Therefore, as he stresses, it is necessary to form a body that will be in charge of the coordination.
“The fourth step is defining the role of the president, and the fifth is adoption of a law on the security community, which will have to specifically define the mandates and field of action of each entity individually,” said Nikolovski.
Security intelligence sector has existed for 73 years – 27 years in independent Macedonia. During this period, only one reform has been made – Intelligence was separated from Counterintelligence.
The Director of the Intelligence Agency, Zoran Ivanov, referred to the Priebe Report, especially pointing out the part which says that in terms of professional activity “the human factor is key”.
“If we want to do something, we must all get into the process that we need to upgrade very honestly. We need to make a flexible system in which each of the stakeholders will clearly and unambiguously perform their tasks, thus reducing the space for abuse of power,” Ivanov said…. / IBNA