BLACKBOOK – Empowering citizens to combat systemic corruption in water management in Serbia

The project contributes to the fight against corruption in the management of public resources and seeks to have a long-term impact on changing the practice of public participation in decision-making of public interest, with a special focus on water resources management as a public good.

Through the project, RERI took into consideration the privatization of the Jaroslav Černi Institute of Water Management and formed a legal case to provide the public with insight into information on law violations and the abuse of public authority by responsible institutions and actors. The legal analysis of the privatization of the Jaroslav Černi Institute indicates a number of irregularities and abuses of public authority. The competent institutions and the prosecutor’s office, as the legal representative of the Republic of Serbia, are required to, in their duty, protect the compromised public interest by reviewing the legality of the privatization decision and the complete procedure for selling public capital.

RERI encourages the institutional action of civil society organizations and strengthens the role of citizens in preventing and combatting corruption. The defense of legally guaranteed rights and procedures takes place through action within the system, monitoring covert mechanisms that are aiming to legalize corruption and determining responsibility for making decisions that are in favour of private and not public interests.

The privatization of the Jaroslav Černi Institute was carried out with the complete exclusion of the public from the decision-making process, with in parallel, the constant degradation of the water management system. The absence of public responsibility is embodied in the attempts of unconstitutional amendments to the Law on Waters, in moving the deadlines for the adoption of a number of bylaws, as well as in the protection of water resources through intensified inspection supervision.

The project is being implemented from September 2021 to April 2022 with the support of CRTA and the USAID Foundation, through the Citizens Have Power program.