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First Part of the New Judicial Development Strategy Consultation Process completed

24 06 2019

First Part of the New Judicial Development Strategy Consultation Process completed

The fourth roundtable within the consultative process on the working text of the new 2019-2024 Judicial Development Strategy was held today in Belgrade.

In the presence of judges, prosecutors, other judicial institutions, professional associations and civil society organizations, general and specific goals and measures to direct the further development of the Serbian judiciary for the coming five years were presented. The new Strategy also contains a vision of the judiciary for the future:

Independent and autonomous, modern and efficient judiciary, accountable and open to the citizens and society.

As Nela Kuburović, Minister of Justice, stated during her opening address, the new Strategy represents continuity of the process of advancing judicial efficiency. Talking about key areas covered by the Strategy, Minister Kuburović stated that it accounts for the impending constitutional changes as well as changes to a whole set of laws that need to be aligned with constitutional amendments. She also pointed out that the Strategy emphasizes the need to unburden the Belgrade courts and corresponding measures that need to be undertaken to that end.

The Strategy was drafted through an inclusive process of consultations, within a working group composed of over 30 representatives of judicial institutions, professional associations, and other stakeholders. The working text was adopted with the consensus of all working group members, after careful consideration of all comments received. It has also been fully aligned with the revised Action Plan for Chapter 23 so that these two strategic frameworks which are directing the activities of the judiciary are coherent and complementary. As Minister Kuburović pointed out, „the Action Plan for Chapter 23 should, at the same time, be the Action Plan for implementing the measures of the Judicial Development Strategy in order to avoid different reporting and monitoring mechanisms, and exercise more control over the implementation of activities. “

USAID Serbia Mission Director, Mike de la Rosa, emphasized that USAID has been providing extensive support to the reform process in Serbia for the past 18 years, including particularly improvements to the legislative framework, and continuous judicial education. As such, USAID has witnessed considerable progress, as well as many challenges along this path. De la Rosa emphasized that social and economic progress is not possible without strict adherence to the rule of law and effective protection of rights, while both require a functional judiciary and disposing of cases in a predictable manner and within a reasonable timeframe.

Acting ChiefJudge of the Supreme Court of Cassation, Dragomir Milojević, stated that activities and measures formulated in the strategic documents in the past years are always focused on achieving judicial independence, as well as a competent, accountable, and efficient judiciary.

Republic Public Prosecutor, Zagorka Dolovac, emphasized a need for a comprehensive approach for further development of the judiciary, as wellas that the draft of the new Judicial Development Strategy presented a good-quality plan and a comprehensive upgrade of the strategic goals that improve the judiciary in our country.

The working text of the Strategy was presented by Deputy Director of the Judicial Academy, Majda Kršikapa, and a retired judge and Special Advisor to the President of the Supreme Court of Cassation, Snežana Andrejević. The event was moderated by professor Dobrosav Milovanović, who also participated in the drafting of the Strategy, as well as in the development of the Assessment of the previous five-year National Judicial Reform Strategy, also delivered by our Project.

The roundtable yielded a discussion during which participants expressed their support for the contents of the Strategy, as well as pointed out some specifics that require improvement and additional details. The consultative process is still open and comments can be submitted to the Ministry of Justice by post, at 22-26 Nemanjina Street, Belgrade, or via e-mail: vida.stepanovic@mpravde.gov.rs by July 15, 2019, at the latest.

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