We consider legal actions equally important to field actions. The legal actions taken so far include:

  • Collecting funding for legal proceedings against our activists and the local population;
  • Providing legal aid to locals who are taking part in the fight against SHPPs;
  • Filing complaints against the projects carried out within the Jerma Special Nature Reserve, which were upheld at the public hearing;
  • Obtaining the expertise on the protected species living in the rivers designated for the construction of SHPPs of the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia, which is the legal basis for river protection;
  • Vodoprivreda (public enterprise for water management) issued a call for investors to lease water surfaces at new locations for the construction of SHPPs. DRSP sent official letters expressing dissatisfaction with the call. As a result, the call was revised to exclude the Visočica River from the list of the offered rivers.
  • Reports against unidentified persons for digging the riverbed of the Rudinjska River and relocating the river from its natural flow;
  • Also, the DRSP activists spent at least 3 months at the Rakita SHPP construction site supporting the locals and handling the legal action against this project. Within this process, numerous irregularities were identified and reported. As a result of the legal action, the investor was fined for illegal tree-cutting, and the Environmental Inspection Department of the Ministry of Environmental Protection ordered the removal of pipes from the riverbed. The expert analysis also found that the construction had caused a landslide and documented illegal registration of a mortgage on private land. The Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia identified two protected vertebrate species within the Rakita River, at which the SHPP construction was already in progress thanks to a permit that had previously been issued by the Institute. The police filed reports against some of the activists. However, the people who protested succeeded in returning the river to its natural bed.
  • Legal Action against the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Directorate of the Republic of Serbia, Ministry of Environmental Protection, and Srbijavode Public Enterprise for Water Management;
  • The Supreme Court of Cassation ruled in favour of the Ministry and against the investor of SHPP Pakleštica. DRSP activists took part in a public debate presenting arguments against the Pakleštica project;
  • DRSP activists took part in a meeting regarding the management plan for the Stara planina nature park. They requested for the Srbijašume company to take an active role in the protection of the rivers of Stara planina from SHPP construction by initiating administrative procedures to examine the legality of the construction permit issuance procedures and to request temporary suspension of the construction works. The representatives of Srbijašume agreed to this.
  • November 2018 – Forum on SHPPs held at the City Library of Dimitrovgrad. DRSP took part in the early public review of the municipal spatial planning. DRSP demanded that SHPPs be removed from the Spatial Plan. As a result, the Municipality decided that the SHPPs should be removed from the Spatial Plan.
    • Memos sent to state inspection bodies regarding the continuation of illegal construction works on the Zvonce SHPP in April 2019 (awaiting response); Memo sent to the Ministry of Energy with the request not to renew the status of a temporary privileged producer for the Zvonce SHPP in April 2019 (awaiting response); Memo sent to the OTP Bank with the request not to support the construction of the Zvonce SHPP – April 2020 (awaiting response); Requests for the revocation of construction permits for the Zvonce, Topli Do, Jelovica, Zaskovci SHPPs filed (January–May 2019);
  • Upon contacting the Ombudsman, the response we received clearly indicated numerous faults of the SHPP project;
  • We received the Ombudsman's response indicating the negative impact of SHPPs and requesting a re-analysis of the legal framework by taking existing scientific data on this matter into account;
  • June 2019 – Lawsuit filed with the Administrative Court against the construction of the Zvonce SHPP;
  • August 2019 – Request for information of public importance sent to the Municipality of Babušnica Attorney's Office;
  • September 2019 – Memo sent to the Public Attorney’s Office of the Republic of Serbia;
  • October 2019 – Support to the Bankwatch report titled "Western Balkans Hydropower: Who Pays, Who Profits?"
  • November 2019 – Organised a petition collecting signatures against air pollution;
  • November 2019 – A group of civil society organisations and civil initiatives submitted a request to the Prime Minister Ana Brnabić for the revision of incentives for renewable energy sources, with a special emphasis on the so-called feed-in tarrifs for small hydropower plants;

The fight will continue until the final triumph!

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Defend the Rivers of Stara Planina (Balkan Mountains) Movement

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