14 September 2021 The participants of the public hearing
Tuesday, 14 September 2021
Ninth Public Hearing on Changes to Constitution in Field of Judiciary
The Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Issues organised the ninth public hearing on the changes to the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia in the field of the judiciary in Kragujevac City Assembly.
She went on to explain that at its 45th sitting, on 23 June, the Committee had passed a Decision on the establishment of a Working Group for the Drafting of the Act to amend the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, and that the starting point for the Working Group was a draft of constitutional amendments in the field of the judiciary of October 2018, which was harmonised with the recommendations of the Venice Commission and improved by comments from the expert community. She added that the Working Group also worked on the Draft Act for the implementation of amendments 1 to 32 to the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia.
The Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Issues held a sitting on 3 September, at which the members of the Committee and the members of the Working Group discussed the final texts of the constitutional amendments and the constitutional law, which the Working Group had formulated over a period of 13 sittings. After that, at a sitting held on 6 September 2021, the Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Issues ascertained the text of the act on amending the Constitution and the text of the of the draft constitutional law for the implementation of the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, presented at a public hearing in Nis yesterday, being presented in Kragujevac today, and which will be presented to the expert public in Novi Sad and Belgrade as well, said Zaric Kovacevic.
The attending were then addressed by the President of Kragujevac City Assembly Nikola Dasic expressing satisfaction that Kragujevac got to host one of the four public hearings on the amendment of the Serbian Constitution in the field of justice, drawing attention to the symbolism of the fact that the first Sretenje Constitution was passed in this very city in 1815. He also shared the news that Kragujevac will soon open a Judicial Centre, which, he said, would be the pride of the state of Serbia and its citizens.
Minister of Justice Maja Popovic also expressed satisfaction at the upcoming opening of the Judicial Centre in Kragujevac and invited the attending to take part in the opening in October. As the authorised representative of the proposer she explained the reasons for the Constitutional amendment in the field of justice, repeating that 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,” stressed the Minister. 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 Minister asked the attending to follow the recommendations of the Venice Commission when giving their recommendations and suggestions so that they might be adopted.
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 Kragujevac City Assembly.