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    • Independent judicial system is key to guaranteeing citizens' security

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    • Date: 03 October 2017

      Independent judiciary and public prosecution are necessary preconditions for ensuring the good conduct of the security sector and the rule of law, is the main conclusion of the expert consultations organized by the Belgrade Center for Security Policy (BCSP) at the Hotel Ziraon October 3, 2017.

      The consultations were organized in order to draft proposals for amendments to the Constitution on the judiciary, that would directly or indirectly improve the state of human security. Representatives of lawyers, prosecutors' offices and civil society were present at the event. Changes to the Serbian Constitution have been announced through the National Justice Reform Strategy for the period 2013-2018 and the Action Plan for Chapter 23 (Judiciary and fundamental rights).

      Prosecutors' offices, courts and lawyers are the key elements of the judicial system and have a major role in guaranteeing citizens' safety and preventing illegal interventions by the authorities, but the existing constitutional arrangements in Serbia make prosecutors vulnerable to politicization, says Nebojsa Avlijas from the Belgrade Bar Association.

      "Process of prosecutors' appointments itself allows for their politicization. In addition, the lack of a constitutional definition of the judiciary can jeopardize the rights of individuals, even if they are not aware of it", Avlijas says.

      Preconditions for the introduction of democratic principles to the appointment of prosecutors are educated citizens and free media, said Savo Manojlovic from the Association for the Protection of Constitutionality and Legality.

      The restriction of the right to freedom in Serbia is not a constitutional but a legal matter, which is contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights. In addition, courts in Serbia over the past decade have approved detention requests in most cases, justifying it by "public pressure", stated lawyer of the Belgrade Center for Human Rights, Vladica Ilic.

      "In my career, I almost did not see an adequate explanation for a 48-hour detention that is prescribed by the prosecutor," Ilic added.

      Participants in the discussion agreed that the judiciary without good normative solutions cannot be independent and that the rigid hierarchy of public prosecutors prevents independence in the functioning of individuals.

      During the consultations the principle of legitimacy in the appointment process of prosecutors, depoliticization of judicial councils, the position of lawyerс, conditions for appointment and promotion of judges, as well as the provisions of the Constitution on detention, inviolability of home and freedom of movement were also discussed.

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