Do we Need Local Ombudsman - Protector of Human Rights Cover Image

Do we Need Local Ombudsman - Protector of Human Rights
Do we Need Local Ombudsman - Protector of Human Rights

Author(s): Predrag Dimitrijević
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences
Published by: Универзитет у Нишу
Keywords: local ombudsman; local government; public service; municipal parliamentary assembly;

Summary/Abstract: The institution of the local and regional ombudsman is well-known in the world. There are different models in respect of the organization of this institution: beside state ombudsmen, federal states have an ombudsman at the level of member states; there are also regional and local ombudsmen, as well as ombudsmen for general and special issues. Each of these institutions functions within the framework of its jurisdiction and powers of authorities. In the Republic of Serbia, the local ombudsman is established only if there is a need for such a local institution, and if it can be organized and financed. In Serbia, this institution has been established only in 14 out of the total number of 167 cities and municipalities. What is the reason for such a small number of civil defenders (ombudsmen) at the local government level? The first reason is the lack of the binding character of statutory regulation on this matter; the second reason is the essential misunderstanding of the position and role of the local ombudsman. Namely, in the local political structures, the ombudsman is often perceived as an independent political person who shall control the legality of the work of the local government and is, therefore, seen as a danger for the local government authorities. The third reason is the problem of professional competence and financial assets, particularly in smaller and impoverished municipalities. Considering the fact that the role of the ombudsman presumes professional competence, previous work experience, good reputation in the society, etc, there is a problem of providing suitable qualified professionals for this position. There is also the issue of political impartiality, as there is still a lack of relevant mechanisms for establishing full political neutrality. Another problem related to the ombudsman's independence is the funding. The third reason is the period of his term of office. The issue of his political independence and impartiality is directly related to the question whether the local ombudsman's term of office is directly corresponds and overlaps with the term of office of the municipal parliamentary assembly.

  • Issue Year: 3/2005
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 25-35
  • Page Count: 11
  • Language: English