26 June 2013  The public hearing on the 2012 Report of the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture

26 June 2013 The public hearing on the 2012 Report of the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Public Hearing Held in Honour of International Day in Support of Torture Victims

Today, at the National Assembly House, the Committee on Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality and the Committee on the Judiciary, Public Administration and Local Self-Government co-organised a public hearing on the 2012 Report of the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture. The public hearing was attended by MPs, representatives of the diplomatic corps, relevant ministries, independent institutions and local self-government bodies, international organisations and civil society organisations.


The participants of the public hearing, organised to mark the International Day in Support of Torture Victims, were greeted by Meho Omerovic, Chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee on Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality and Petar Petrovic, Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, Public Administration and Local Self-Government.

The Chairman of the Committee on Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality, Meho Omerovic reminded that, pursuant to the Law on the Ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, in June 2011 the Republic of Serbia set up the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture (NPM) tasked with giving recommendations, within its scope, to the legislative and executive power, and opinions so as to prevent torture. He added that the position and treatment of detained persons in Serbia is often below the proscribed minimum and that Serbia has taken it upon itself to protect its citizens from torture, especially in public institutions such as prisons, detention facilities and hospitals.

The Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, Public Administration and Local Self-Government, Petar Petrovic, underlined how important it is that the public hearing is being held on the International Day in Support of Torture Victims, adding that this was the first time that the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture is being presented at the National Assembly. Reminding that Serbia is a signatory of all the international treaties banning torture, Petrovic said he hoped the report would make the situation as regards the human rights of detainees, people in prisons and psychiatric hospitals clearer and remind us to take at least a step closer toward improving their difficult position.

Then Ombudsman Sasa Jankovic presented the 2012 Report of the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture. He said that, last year, a special unit was set up within the institution of Ombudsman - the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture (NPM) tasked with preventing torture in institutions where people are detained. Last year, NPM made 69 visits to detention facilities – police stations, prisons, psychiatric hospitals, social welfare institutions, old people’s homes, asylum centres, recording that the most frequent instances of torture occur in prisons and detention centres. Jankovic stressed that the torture in detention institutions is not organised by the system, but there are individual instances. Speaking of the conditions prisoners live in, he said that many of those serving several-years-long sentences are placed in cramped conditions, while the situation in psychiatric hospitals is particularly bad. Jankovic said that he expected the public hearing to raise awareness that all people have the right to human dignity.

In the discussion, the participants of the public hearing drew attention to the many problems detainees have, and the representatives of the non-governmental sector highlighted the particularly bad situation in psychiatric hospitals and prisons. Improving the housing and living conditions of detainees, and housing psychiatric patients in the community, are a pre-condition for eradicating abuse in Serbia, said the participants in the discussion, stressing that all institutions, and state institutions in particular, should invest additional efforts into achieving the goal of eliminating abuse and torture from the society.

Concluding the public hearing, Meho Omerovic said that, as stipulated in article 84 of the National Assembly Rules of Procedure, information will be prepared containing views and opinions and forwarded to the National Assembly Speaker, committee members and all the participants of the public hearing.

The public hearing was held with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) as part of the project Strengthening the Oversight Role and Transparency of the National Assembly, conducted in cooperation with the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia.


Committees related to this activity



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tuesday, 7 december
  • 9.00 - sitting of the Committee on Finance, State Budget and Control of Public Spending (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 3)

  • 9.00 - sitting of the Committee on the Judiciary, Public Administration and Local Self-Government (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 2)

  • 9.00 - 52nd meeting of the National Assembly Collegium (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 1)

  • 10.00 - 11th Sitting of the Second Regular Session of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia in 2021 (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square)

  • 11.00 - National Assembly Deputy Speaker Stefan Krkobabic meets with a delegation led by the Head of the Georgian Royal House H.R.H. Prince Davit Bagration Muhranbatoni (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, library)

  • 11.00 - the Head of the National Assembly’s standing delegation to NATO PA meets with the Ukrainian Ambassador to Serbia (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 2)

  • 11.45 - press conference of National Assembly Deputy Speaker Stefan Krkobabic and H.R.H. Prince Davit Bagration Muhranbatoni (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, Central Hall)

  • 12.00 - press conference of MP Prof Dr Jahja Fehratovic (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, Central Hall)

  • 12.30 - sitting of the Foreign Affairs Committee (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 2)

  • 13.00 - sitting of the Culture and Information Committee (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 3)

  • 15.00 - National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic meets the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, diplomatic salon of Prince Pavle Karadjordjevic)

Full event calendar