Lawyers from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro have challenged the legality of Sky data in criminal proceedings following a debate in Belgrade.
The event was headlined “SKY ECC communication as evidence in criminal proceedings,” and was organised by the Bar Association of Serbia. At the event, lawyers and law professors debated whether data collected from the communications app could be considered legally obtained evidence.
According to Belgrade University Law Faculty Professor Vanja Bajovic, the legality of Sky data in criminal proceedings was far from clear. In addition to privacy issues, she explained that the use of this data could also violate the right to a fair trial.
“If the defendant’s right to privacy is violated, if the evidence was obtained through [cracking] Sky, the defendant cannot know the source of the evidence or the way in which the evidence was obtained,“ Bajovic said.
Bajovic said information based on Sky ECC could be used as intelligence data on which police and prosecutors can build a case, but that it should not serve as evidence itself.
“Failures of the police and prosecutor’s office cannot be ‘washed’ by the destruction of human rights,” she added.
Miodrag Stojanovic, a lawyer from Bosnia, said the judiciary had been facing issues over Sky ECC data since November last year.
According to Stojanovic, individuals in Bosnia has been arrested, put in custody and indicted based on Sky communications, despite there being no court decision on whether the evidence could be considered legally obtained.
“The question is at what point the judicial community of Bosnia and Herzegovina willl have the strength to weigh its final decision related to the legality of the evidence,“ said Stojanovic.
Legal experts in Montenegro are also contesting the legality of obtaining such evidence.
Bojana Franovic Kovacevic from Montenegro’s Bar Association said some cases brought by the Prosecution Office rested solely on data collected from Sky communications.
“The prosecution in the indictments, instead of dealing with reasonable suspicion and which decisive facts have been established in order to speak of the existence of a criminal offence, deals with analysis of French legislation,“ Franovic Kovacevic said.
Across Serbia, Bosnia, Albania, Montenegro and Slovenia, more than 100 people have been arrested and charged based on data collected from the Sky communications app.
The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina last week passed its first verdict based on evidence collected from the Sky and Anom apps.
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