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    • BCSP Director Igor Bandovic for TV N1: Total Curfew is Unenforceable and Profoundly Unconstitutional

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    • Date: 31 March 2020

      State of emergency introduced because of epidemic is not a legal ground for total curfew and it would raise a number of issues. Total curfew is profoundly unconstitutional and not in line with the practice of the European Court of Human Rights, stated BCSP Director Igor Bandovic during the live appearance on TV N1. Reminiscing on the present situation in Hungary, BCSP Director pointed out that the state of emergency must not be abused with a goal to introduce an authoritarian system of government, in which the discretionary powers of those who rule would be without accountability.

      This report is republished from N1 website and originally is available here.

      Total curfew would very likely be unenforceable and would raise a number of legal issues. According to the practice of the European Court of Human Rights, total curfew practically means depriving all citizens of liberty, said Igor Bandovic, director of the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy.

      Bandovic said that the majority of citizens act responsibly, but also that it is true that there is still a number of people who disregard the mandatory measures. There are ways to tackle this problem, but a complete ban on movement is not it, as it is very problematic from many aspects, he noted.

      „Total curfew is fundamentally at odds with the Constitution, civil rights, and with our international obligations. Furthermore, I don't think such a measure exists anywhere in the world. Even in Italy the curfew is not implemented in this total form, there are ways that people can get out house”, he said.

      An absolute ban on freedom of movement, he added, would very likely be unenforceable and would raise a number of questions - according to the practice of the European Court of Human Rights, it practically means depriving all citizens of liberty.

      Constitutionally a state of emergency can be introduced, Bandovic says, but there are some civil rights and freedoms that cannot be abolished by the Government even in that situation.

      Bandovic also commented on the increasing use of the war discourse in the media.

      "This (emergency) was called the War on the Virus - that sounds wrong because we don't have a real enemy, and if we even say we do, it has no motive - it is a virus, and people who are infected are not at war with us, they need help and they need treatment," said Bandovic.

      He pointed out that we often (mis)use the term “enemy” in the public discourse and that it is now totally inappropriate to compare a state of war with the current emergency.

      He said that measures similar to the ones implemented in Serbia right now have been introduced in other countries too, but the problem lies in the failure to prevent the panic and fear among citizens.

      „There are other ways - our citizens are mature and responsible enough - I would much rather appeal to their reason than try to intimidate and scare them. There needs to be a different, more subtle way of addressing the citizens, that would rely more on experts," he said.

      According to him, the state should treat everyone with equality and solidarity. Support for doctors and medical staff is welcome and heart-warming, but the state needs to do more about their status, he said.

      "A ten percent raise (salary increase) is good, but it's a symbolic gesture, something more substantial should be considered."

      Bandovic said that the whole world will imminently suffer the economic consequences of this crisis, but that the state should be guided by the principles of transparency and just treatment for everyone in the preparation and implementation of the responsive measures.

      Speaking about the public announcement that all citizens will receive 100 euros each, he said that he does not understand the purpose of this measure, and that it sounds like a populistic move. "There is a lack of communication about why certain measures are being introduced. The citizens of Serbia are fully able to understand the reasons why some measures need to be taken." he said.

      Reminiscing on the present situation in Hungary, Bandovic warned that the state of emergency could be abused with a goal to introduce an authoritarian system of government, in which the discretionary powers of those who rule would be without accountability.

      "I would not like to see this temporary emergency becoming a permanent state of affairs in the country." he warned.


       

       

       

       

       

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