Tijana Perić Diligenski



Institute for Political Studies


Consultant on Anti-Corruption

Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Serbia


Teaching Assistant

Faculty of Law, Belgrade University



Faculty of Political Sciences, Belgrade University



Faculty of Law, Belgrade University



Faculty of Law, Belgrade University



Tijana Perić Diligenski is a Research Associate at the Institute for Political Studies, editorial secretary of the journal Administracija i javne politike (Administration and Public Policies). Published several papers on judiciary reform and anti-corruption policies of the Republic of Serbia, notably in the context of EU integrations. Consultant on anti-corruption in the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Serbia. Participated in the preparation of the Action Plan for Negotiation Chapter 23 (Judiciary and Fundamental Rights – sub-chapter: fight against corruption) with the European Union and engaged in the process of revision of the Action Plan for the implementation of the National Strategy for the Fight Against Corruption (2013-2018).



The paper focuses on the normative analysis of anti - corruption institutional engineering in the countries of the former Yugoslavia. Based on the analysis of the content of the national anti-corruption normative acts of the post-Yugoslav republics, the findings on the institutional logic of combating corruption as an informal institution and systemic deviation are reached. The effects of preventive and repressive suppression of corruption in the post-Yugoslav republics indicate that the best results in institutional design are achieved by constituting new independent institutions rather than redesigning existing ones. Comparative experiences of criminal law reactions to corrupt forms of crime indicate a disproportion between the number of acts issued by repressive bodies (number of criminal charges, indictments and final convictions) and the absence of statistical data on the number of prosecuted public officials. A uniform methodology for monitoring criminal cases with a corrupt element has not been established in most post-Yugoslav republics, which introduces bias into the work of repressive bodies and makes it impossible to plan criminal policy. The police compile statistics based on the number of reported crimes, the prosecution records the number of reported persons and court statistics are based on the number of cases (which is additionally unreliable because the number of cases often does not correspond to the number of cases). It is necessary to establish a single record for corruption offenses that would allow the exchange of information and databases between all bodies relevant to the supression of corruption.



In the text of the paper, legal nihilism is understood as a selective, arbitrary and informal political-command implementation of law that results in its abuse. Political actors, judicial officials and citizens are detected as legal nihilists and all of them are characterized by deficient legal consciousness, which is reflected in the disrespect or relativization of legal norms and values incorporated into them. Following theoretical considerations of legal nihilism as a manifestation of non-legal consciousness, the practical side of this phenomenon is portrayed primarily through the Russian and secondarily through the Serbian archetype. It is concluded that legal nihilism occurs in the contexts of legal uncertainty, authoritarian tendencies, and omnipresent political-cultural matrix. Paradigmatic examples include Russia and Serbia as states where the rule of law and the ethos of civic obligations have never truly taken root. Legal nihilism turns the judiciary into a politically dependent category that circumvents the juridical logic. The criminal, political, corrupt and informal behavior of the justice deliberator is manifested in all sorts of manifestations such as the de facto purchase of court decisions, selective and false investigations (false suing, prosecution of innocents) and prosecutor's failure to act. Reducing nihilistic sentiment primarily depends on decision makers' capacity to build institutions of trust, credibility and integrity. The contribution of citizens as private actors who will refrain from seeking rents as well as public officials seeking a bribe following the process of democratization should not be ignored. When the order to invest in legal activities comes to life, legal nihilism will be consequently reduced, as “the most unpleasant of all guests”.