PRESS RELEASE – National Convention on the EU

Belgrade, 27 February 2018

PRESS RELEASE

Concerning the published working draft of amendments to the Constitution of Serbia and consultations begun at the invitation of the Ministry of Justice

Ustav_700x450Members of the National Convention on the EU participating in the Chapter 23 Working Group, together with numerous civil society organisations, call on the Ministry of Justice to withdraw the working draft of amendments to the Constitution as published. The proposed changes will not create an environment conducive to greater judicial independence or prosecutorial autonomy, in the view of both the signatories and numerous professors of constitutional law who took part in a recent public hearing organised by professional associations. Rather than improving upon the inadequate provisions of the Constitution as it stands now, the published amendments are a retrograde step and will allow the Government and political parties to exert much greater and more direct influence on courts and prosecutors’ offices.

                We therefore demand that the Government of Serbia consult experts in constitutional law to develop a new legal text, whilst respecting the positions outlined above, permit robust public debate in an environment that ensures respect for all participants, and give due consideration to arguments voiced by the profession and other parties interested in enacting a Constitution of Serbia that lays the foundations for an independent and efficient third branch of government.

                Amendments of the Constitution that concern the judiciary do not affect only the position of judges and prosecutors: rather, they have an impact on all members of the public who seek protection of their rights from courts. An independent judiciary, free of executive influence, is in the interests of all private individuals and businesses and safeguards fundamental rights and freedoms, labour rights, property, security, and a multitude of other principles. We expect all political parties that represent the public in Parliament to take part in debate on the proposed amendments, as constitutional reform is a crucial question for the future development of Serbia and the creation of public trust in its institutions.

 

This letter has been signed by the following members of the Chapter 23 Working Group of the National Convention on the EU:

Belgrade Centre for Human Rights

Beogradski centar za ljudska prava

Centre for Democracy Foundation

Fondacija Centar za demokratiju

Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights – YUCOM

Komitet pravnika za ljudska prava JUKOM

Belgrade Centre for Security Policy

Beogradski centar za bezbednosnu politiku

Civic Initiatives

Građanske inicijative

Prosecutors’ Association of Serbia

Udruženje javnih tužilaca i zamenika javnih tužilaca Srbije

Judges’ Association of Serbia

Društvo sudija Srbije

Association of Judicial Associates of Serbia

Asocijacija pravosudnih savetnika

CEPRIS

CEPRIS

Association of Judicial and Prosecutorial Assistants

Udruženje sudskih i tužilačkih pomoćnika

Praxis

 

Autonomous Women’s Centre

Autonomni ženski centar – AŽC

Centre for Regionalism

Centar za regionalizam

Bureau for Social Research – BIRODI

Biro za društvena istraživanja – BIRODI

Transparency Serbia

Transparentnost Srbija

CRTA

 

Humanitarian Law Centre

Fond za humanitarno pravo

Victimology Society of Serbia

Viktimološko društvo Srbije

Partners for Democratic Change

Partneri za demokratske promene

Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia

Helsinški odbor za ljudska prava u Srbiji

Centre for Development of Civil Society

Centar za razvoj civilnog društva

CHRIS Network

CHRIS mreža

Independent Journalists’ Association of Vojvodina

Nezavisno društvo novinara Vojvodine

Labris

 

Centre for Practical Policy

Centar za praktičnu politiku

Brodarevo NGO Network

Mreža NVO Brodareva

CDD Europolis

 

Roman Women’s Rights Centre

NVO Centar za prava Romkinja

Association of Students with Disabilities

Udruženje studenata sa hendikepom

DUGA Association

Asocijacija DUGA

Forum 10 Academic Initiative

Akademska inicijativa “Forum 10”

Roma Forum of Serbia

Forum Roma Srbije

Sandzak Committee for Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms

Sandžački odbor za zaštitu ljudskih prava i sloboda

Link Plus

 

Gayten-LGBT

 

Centre for Ecology and Sustainable Development – CEKOR

Centar za ekologiju i održivi razvoj – CEKOR

SVET I DUNAV NGO

NVO SVET I DUNAV

Dialogue Valjevo

Dijalog Valjevo

European Movement, Novi Sad

Evropski pokret Novi Sad

Legal Documentation Office – PRADOK

Pravno dokumentaciona kancelarija PRADOK

Serbian Judiciary Trade Union

Sindikat pravosuđa Srbije

Vranje Multiple Sclerosis Association

Udruženje multiple skleroze Vranje

Zajedno Zajedno

 

Uzice Child Rights Centre

Užički centar za prava deteta

Initiative for Development and Cooperation

UG Inicijativa za razvoj i saradnju

 

And by the following associations and foundations:

 

European Movement in Serbia

Evropski pokret u Srbiji

Fund for an Open Society

Fondacija za otvoreno društvo

Centre of Modern Skills

Centar za moderne veštine

Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence

Beogradski fond za političku izuzetnost

Trag Foundation

Trag Fondacija

Public Policy Research Centre

Centar za javne politike

Centre for the Development of Trade Unionism

Centar za razvoj sindikalizma

YUROM Centre

YUROM CENTAR

Women’s Platform for the Development of Serbia

Ženska platforma za razvoj Srbije

Nezavisnost Trade Union Confederation

Ujedinjeni granski sindikati „Nezavisnost“

Share Foundation

Share Fondacija

Astra

 

Centre for Investigative Journalism

Centar za istraživačko novinarstvo

Streets for Cyclists

UG Ulice za bicikliste

Western Balkans Institute

Zapadnobalkanski institut

Lilit Association, Belgrade

Udruženje Lilit, Beograd

DamaD Cultural Centre

Kulturni centar DamaD

1804 Choir and Conversation Club

Klub Hor i Razgovor iz 1804

Vinca Neolithic Association

Udruženje Vinčanski Neolit

Adult Education Society

Društvo za obrazovanje odraslih

Valjevo Human Rights Committee

Odbor za ljudska prava Valjevo

Prijepolje Women’s Forum

Forum žena Prijepolja

Šumska Vila Environmental Civic Association

Ekološko udruženje građana Šumska vila

AS Centre

AS centar

Sanitary Ecology Society

Sanitarno ekološko društvo

Youth Initiative for Human Rights

Inicijativa mladih za ljudska prava

ZAJEDNO Single Parents’ Association, Novi Pazar

Udruženje samohranih roditelja ZAJEDNO iz Novog Pazara

Urban In

 

Južne vesti

 

Peščanik

 

Centre for Advanced Economic Studies – CEVES

Centar za visoke ekonomske studije – CEVES

Serbian Doctors’ and Pharmacists’ Trade Union

Sindikat lekara i farmaceuta Srbije

InTer

 

 

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