THE WHISTLEBLOWER FILES
Albania: Dritan Hila
The whistleblower: Dritan Hila, diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The case: Hila reported the questionable appointment of a judge’s daughter to an ambassadorship.
After the disclosure: Hila was fired, but sought justice in a legal case to win reappointment and financial compensation. Hila served as Albania’s deputy minister of defense in the opposition government. He was dismissed in 2015 and now regularly appears on different media as government critique. Hila’s case illustrates the risk of instrumentalization of whistleblowers by politics.
Bulgaria: Konstantin Ivanov
The whistleblower: Konstantin Ivanov, Sofia police officer
The case: Ivanov was forced to resign after 20 years in his position following a disclosure he made about payments from various donors to the Ministry of Interior designated to prevent penalties stemming from traffic violations.
After the disclosure: Ivanov’s disclosure prompted the European Commission to criticize the practice, causing Prime Minister Borisov to pledge that it would be stopped. Nevertheless, the Interior Minister initially filed charges against Ivanov. In order to replenish the budget hole resulting from missing donations, the Ministry of Interior later introduced a policy requiring companies with private security guards to pay license fees.
Croatia: Ankica Lepej
The whistleblower: Ankica Lepej, bank employee
The case: Lepej disclosed details about large financial deposits made by former president Tudjman’s wife that weren’t reported.
After the disclosure: When the bank Lepej worked at offered a reward to anyone who named the whistleblower, Lepej exposed herself. In return, she was fired and charged with disclosing business secrets, but never tried. Lepej was Croatia’s first notable whistleblower. Her case attracted widespread media attention, gaining Lepej nationwide solidarity.
Czech Republic: Libor Michálek
The whistleblower: Libor Michálek, public servant
The cases: Michálek exposed two national scandals, making him arguably the most famous whistleblower in Czech history. In 1996 Michálek was fired from the National Property Fund after exposing embezzlement related to a tunneling project. In 2010 he blew the whistle on a scam by the Environment Ministry to inflate a public water treatment project by some €120 million and siphon the money to the Civic Democratic Party.
After the disclosure: He won a court case stemming from 1996 incident and was involved in compensating people who lost money in the affair. In 2012 Michálek was elected to the Czech Senate, where he continues to actively fight for whistleblower rights and protections.
Moldova: Iacob Guja
The whistleblower: Iacob Guja, head of press unit in Prosecutor General’s office
The case: Guja disclosed attempts by high-ranking political officials to influence the judiciary. Following a public call by President Voronin in 2003 to end corruption, including public officials’ attempts to pressure law enforcement officers, Guja forwarded letters received by the Prosecutor General’s Office to a newspaper. The correspondence indicated that high-ranking officials had pressured prosecutors into discontinuing criminal proceedings against four police officers who had been under investigation for alleged illegal detention and ill treatment of detainees.
After the disclosure: Guja was dismissed for disclosing confidential documents. He filed a lawsuit against his unfair dismissal at the European Court for Human Rights, which ruled that Moldova had breached Guja’s right to freedom of expression which could not be justified as “necessary in a democratic society”. He was awarded €10.000 in damages.
In this landmark case, the court established six principles to determine whether a whistleblower’s right to freedom of expression should be protected under the European Convention.
Montenegro: Nenad Čobeljić
The whistleblower: Nenad Čobeljić, president of the military trade union
The case: Nenad exposed corruption in the military trade union, as well as discrimination against union members and misallocation of military housing.
After the disclosure: Čobeljić was dismissed from his army position in 2011, and barred from promotion for two years. Following widespread publicity of the case, disciplinary measures against Čobeljić were dropped in 2013 and he was reinstated to his position. In 2015, he was elected to lead the military trade union for another term.
Romania: Constantin Bucur
The whistleblower: Constantin Bucur, employee of Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI)
The case: Bucur disclosed the illegal wiretapping of journalists, politicians and business people by the SRI
After the disclosure: In 1998, two years after his disclosure, Bucur was charged and convicted of illegally disclosing information on matters of national security. Fifteen years after his sentence, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Bucur’s right to freedom of expression had been violated, as the public interest in disclosing illegal conduct outweighs the interest of maintaining public confidence in the SRI.