13 September 2021 The participants of the public hearing
Monday, 13 September 2021
Eighth Public Hearing on Changes to Constitution in Field of Judiciary
The Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Issues organised the eighth public hearing on the changes to the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia in the field of the judiciary in Nis City Assembly.
The Committee Chairperson outlined the constitutional amendment process so far, reminding the participants of the public hearing that at a sitting held on 6 September 2021, at the proposal of the Working Group for the Drafting of the Act to amend the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, the Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Issues formulated the text of the act on amending the Constitution and the text of the of the draft constitutional law for the implementation of Amendments I to XXX to the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, to be presented and considered at this and the coming public hearings.
Addressing the attending, the President of Nis City Assembly Boban Dzunic thanked the organisers for the opportunity for the Assembly to host this gathering and the opportunity to contribute to the debate on this important topic in a direct exchange of opinions, from all relevant aspects. He pointed out that today's meeting in the Nis City Assembly is testament to the commitment to the tasks and challenges before the Republic of Serbia and the readiness to, respecting all the principles of modern European society, regulate the institutional framework as an essential element in the decision-making on the most important legal issues. "Every process, especially the process of changing the most important legal act in the state, is a complex and responsible job requiring an active approach, by the individual, the local self-government and the state", said Dzunic, adding that only if all these segments work together can we reach objective, long-term and efficient solutions in a transparent manner.
As the authorised representative of the proposer, Minister of Justice Maja Popovic explained the reasons for the Constitutional amendment in the field of justice.
"The proposed changes to the Constitution are envisaged as an activity in the Negotiation Chapter 23 Action Plan which was adopted by the Government of the Republic of Serbia on 27 April 2016 and revised on 10 July 2020, and are the most significant reform concerning the rule of law, a core value of any democratic society and one of the priorities of the European Union’s policy", the Minister pointed out. She stressed that the Republic of Serbia pays close attention to fulfilling the obligations from the Negotiation Chapter 23 Action Plan, as well as to make sure that the Constitutional change is conducted in order to improve the quality of justice, as well as the independence, impartiality, expertise, responsibility and efficiency of the judiciary.
"If there are to be constitutional changes, they will certainly mean strengthening the rule of law and Serbia's progress in one important area, and with it, better assessments of the EU negotiation process. That is why I expect that the European Commission will appreciate the efforts Serbia is making in order to change the Constitutional provisions concerning the judiciary", said the Minister.
The Minister of Justice listed the changes implied by the text of the act on amending the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, as well as the text of the constitutional law for the implementation of the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia.
"It is envisaged that the Republic of Serbia would analyse the existing provisions of the Constitution from the standpoint of general acceptance of European and international standards, expressed through documents of the European Union, United Nations, Council of Europe, especially the Venice Commission, as well as the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice CEPEJ, Consultative Council of European Judges, Consultative Council of European Prosecutors and the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary”, said Popovic.
The Minister of Justice added that the change to the Constitution is a prerequisite for fulfilling a significant number of recommendations of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), which would enable Serbia to no longer be on the list of globally unsatisfactory countries in terms of corruption prevention. The proposed changes to the Constitution will exclude the participation of politicians in the election of judges, court presidents, public prosecutors, deputy public prosecutors, which will enable a greater independence of judges and greater autonomy of prosecutors. “This will make Serbia more attractive for foreign investments, which will indirectly lead to an increase in the citizens’ living standards", the Minister stressed.
Following a discussion, the Chairperson of the Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Issues Jelena Zaric Kovacevic thanked all the participants of the public hearing held in Nis City Assembly.
Committees related to this activity
8.30 - the National Assembly Speaker meets with the EP Rapporteur for Serbia and a member of the EU - Serbia SAPC delegation (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 1)
9.00 - sitting of the Committee on the Judiciary, Public Administration and Local Self-Government (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 2)
10.00 - the MPs meet with the EP Rapporteur for Serbia and a member of the EU - Serbia SAPC delegation (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, Small Hall)
12.15 - press conference of MP Prof. Dr Tamara Milenkovic Kerkovic (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, Central Hall)