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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

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  • Which are the main differences between the work ie the tasks of SOVA and the police?

    SOVA's tasks are related to providing the information from abroad or relating to foreign countries relevant for safeguarding national security, while the police perform the duties relevant to internal security. In accordance with the existing legislation, the SOVA officials do not have police authorizations and do not participate in the prosecution of the perpetrators of criminal offences, which is the duty of the police.

  • Does SOVA operate only in the territory of Slovenia or abroad, too?

    According to the SOVA Act, the Agency collects the information relevant for safeguarding the security, politica,l and economic interests of the state, and on activities  from abroad  or  in connection  with  foreign  entities that constitute  or  could  constitute  a  threat  to  the  national security and strategic interests of Slovenia. SOVA also collects the information on the activities that could influence the implementation of the common European security and foreign policy or could be relevant to the safety of the Slovenian representatives in the peace-keeping missions of the international community and NATO in flashpoints around the world.

    Hence it follows that according to the law, the work of SOVA and its areas of interest are not limited strictly to the territory of the Republic of Slovenia.

  • What authorizations do the Agency officials have? Can they arrest people like the police can?

    The Agency's employees do not have executive powers, which is why they cannot detain or arrest people. Under the conditions stipulated by the SOVA Act, the authorized officials may – when protecting enclosed areas and facilities of the Agency – restrict the movement of a person by preventing them to exit or by detaining them until the arrival of the police, but not for more than two hours. With regard to the above mentioned tasks, they may implement certain other measures and use firearms. Certain other employees also have the right to carry the service firearms, but they can use it only under the conditions defined by the Criminal Code for the cases of self-defence and extremity.

  • Does SOVA need a court order for every special work method?

    Special forms of information collection are according to the SOVA Act:

      - monitoring of international communications systems

      - covert purchase of documents and objects

      - covert observation and surveillance in open or public places applying technical means for documenting

    The use of the special forms of information collection is approved in written form by the Agency Director, in the way and under the conditions stipulated by the SOVA Act.

    The other two special forms of information collection – the interception of letters and other consignments and interception of telecommunications in the Republic of Slovenia – are at the request of the Director authorized by a written order issued for each individual case by the President of the Supreme Court.

  • How does the Agency cooperate with foreign security and intelligence services? Is the cooperation arranged for every individual case, or on the basis of the long-term contracts for cooperation, or in another way?

    The legal basis for the Agency's cooperation with foreign services is defined in Article 7 of the SOVA Act, stipulating that the Director shall decide when the Agency, for the discharge of its functions as determined in Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 2 of the SOVA Act, may co-operate or exchange information with foreign intelligence and security agencies. The cooperation is based on the agreements of the leaderships of the respective services, by which the contents of the – as a rule long-term – cooperation and the method of the exchange of information are determined. The establishing and the intensity of cooperation are defined by mutual interests ie need for intelligence.

    The cooperation is based also on the arrangements on concrete handling of delicate issues. One of the simple but effective principles in this respect is the so-called third party rule. It says that the information provided by a foreign service can be shared with the third party only upon the previous consent of the originator.