The SIS law, criticized. Experts suggest that endowing a single service with extensive powers could lead to abuse of power


Endowing a single service with such extensive powers, without strong and effective oversight and control mechanisms, inevitably leads to inefficiency and abuse of power. The type of intelligence service envisioned by the bill suggests an omnipotent service in an authoritarian regime, not a well-integrated functional service in a democratic system. The practice of EU/NATO intelligence services demonstrates that effectiveness is based on a well-thought-out division of tasks between several services, each of which focuses on a separate, precise objective (mission), achieved thanks to coherent and precisely indicated tasks, few .

Author: Geneva Center for Security Sector Governance

According to experts, the two bills require closer scrutiny and thorough amendment to ensure the legal foundation of an intelligence and security service that is effective in deterring threats to national security.

Advertisement The two bills are complex and overambitious in terms of defining SIS powers and operational responsibilities, but provide little detail and clear provisions on control and oversight. (…) Both bills both overly detailed and complicated and yet vague on some of the most important issues. None of the laws mirror similar laws in European democracies where the laws are simple (rarely more than 6 pages), less detailed about operational activity, but define in more detail the important issue of oversight in all its forms (executive, parliamentary and judicial) .

Author: Geneva Center for Security Sector Governance

Experts suggest that it would be necessary to study the possibility of combining the projects in a single law.

A single law would avoid duplication, provide greater clarity and be a single point of reference. If two laws are retained, clarity and harmonization must be ensured, particularly with regard to the duties and powers of the service.

Author: Geneva Center for Security Sector Governance

Experts also have some reservations regarding the law on counterinformative activity and foreign information activity (CI law).

The issue of interception of all personal communications is always a difficult subject and needs clear direction and oversight. This is particularly important given that much of an individual’s personal information is carried in data. CI law is slightly confusing and would benefit from a separate section dedicated to interception protocols which would include storage, deletion of non-relevant material, timelines and deletion of operational material, privileged i.e. medical, attorney/client, etc. material. and other privacy issues.

Author: Geneva Center for Security Sector Governance

Experts recommend avoiding overlapping powers with law enforcement bodies such as police forces, criminal investigation bodies or anti-corruption bodies. At the same time, they believe that the SIS law must include explicit regulations regarding the principles of good governance, accountability, efficiency and effectiveness.

The report is based on the findings and recommendations of four senior intelligence experts involved in the review process by DCAF. According to the document, the experts have extensive knowledge and experience in the field of intelligence reform and governance, playing a direct role in the management of intelligence services in EU member states (Austria, Poland, Slovenia and the United Kingdom). The analysis of the draft laws took place in mid-February – mid-March 2023, therefore their assessment did not take into account the findings of the opinion of the Venice Commission, published on 14 March 2023.

We mention that according to the opinion of the Venice Commission, the institution found a series of divergences in the draft law regarding the activity of the SIS. At the end of March, the laws were voted on in the first reading.


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