The Belgrade-based Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies (CEAS) and its Director Jelena Milic on Tuesday welcomed the investigation by the Finance Ministry’s Money Laundering Prevention Department into the finances of individuals and organizations if it is in line with the law.
“We do not believe that this should not be done just because other suspects have not been punished. Also, we do not view this, if it is done according to the law, as pressure on our work,” a CEAS statement said.
Bearing in mind the number of foreigners noticed at the violent protests in Belgrade at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, CEAS believes that the measure introduced by the Department is perhaps justified, the statement said.
It added that terms such as association of citizens, NGO, journalists or opposition “in themselves do not include a value-based definition of good-bad or a priori innocent”. “Just like any other organization or individual, they cannot be the perpetrators of crimes and that does not depend on where and who they work for.
“CEAS understands that the very diverse list is not complete and we do not see how the sources of those media could draw conclusions about relationship between the entities on the list and their public views and activities, nor how an incomplete list can be considered pressure on certain organizations,” the statement said.