18 April 2013 The participants of the public hearing on the concept of prosecutorial investigation
Thursday, 18 April 2013
Public Hearing on Prosecutorial Investigation Concept
Today, the National Assembly House hosted a public hearing titled “Concept of prosecutorial investigation with a focus on the comparative law experience of the Federal Republic of Germany”, organised by the Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Issues.
The assembly was opened by MA Vladimir Cvijan, Chairman of the Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Issues, who greeted the participants on the behalf of the National Assembly Speaker and the Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Issues. He stressed that the public hearing was organised so as to hear the opinion of prosecutors, lawyers, judges and all interested parties on the concept of prosecutorial investigation which should soon be implemented in Serbia. Cvijan deemed it very important that all the principles of prosecutorial investigation be duly applied in Serbia especially now when it leads an uncompromising fight against organised crime and corruption.
Dr Stefan Purner, regional director of the German Foundation for International Legal Cooperation (IRZ), said that the Foundation has been in Serbia since 2000 and established successful cooperation with the judiciary bodies. Its efforts are focused on the reform of the criminal procedure in Serbia, which should be founded on the tenets of European law.
Branko Stamenkovic, Deputy Higher Public Prosecutor in Belgrade and Special Prosecutor for Hi-Tech Crime, spoke of the aspects of the criminal procedure and experience in the application of the new Criminal Procedure Code. He deemed that the past experiences had been positive and that the public prosecutors’ offices in Serbia would be ready to start implementing the new Criminal Procedure Code in October 2013.
In his opening address, Dr Jurgen Dehn, FR Germany expert and former Federal Republic Prosecutor, said that Germany had started implementing prosecutorial investigation in 1977 quite successfully. He explained that the prosecutors conduct the investigation themselves or via assistance bodies – the police as the prosecutors’ right hand and the Tax Service.
Dr Milan Skulic, professor at the Belgrade Faculty of Law, opined that a lot had been done to introduce prosecutorial investigation, but the solutions offered by the Criminal Procedure Code do not guarantee the efficiency of the procedure and it is doubtful how prepared the Serbian prosecutors’ offices are to start implementing the law. He added that the state should perhaps consider possibly adopting a new law since the existing provisions unnecessarily complicate the procedure.
Dr Goran Ilic, Deputy Republic Public Prosecutor, said that he is not for prosecutorial investigation at all cost, stressing that he would endorse the new Criminal Procedure Code if it ensured more efficient and fair trials and quicker and objective decision-making.
Milisav Coguric, Assistant Minister of Justice and Public Administration, informed the participants of the public hearing on the preparations and activities conducted as part of the judiciary reform. He stated that the National Assembly had before it four judiciary laws and that amendments have been proposed to the Law on Judges, Law on Organisation of Courts and Law on Public Prosecution. The proposed law on the seats and territorial jurisdiction of courts and public prosecutors’ offices should arrange the system of judiciary bodies in such a way as to rationalize them and boost their efficiency and ensure the citizens better access to judiciary bodies. As regards the prosecutorial investigation to come into force in October 2013, Coguric said that he expected it to make criminal procedures more rational and efficient and announced amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code before the introduction of prosecutorial investigation.
In the discussion, the MPs and representatives of the prosecutors’ offices and courts from many Serbian towns, as well as the representative of the Bar Association exchanged opinions on the preconditions for the implementation of the prosecutorial investigation concept in Serbia. They agreed that the introduction of the concept is good, but the German experience discussed at the public hearing should be adjusted to the Serbian mentality and customs.
At the end of the discussion, Committee Chairman Vladimir Cvijan said that the public hearing had shown that it is good to exchange views and hear about different experiences. Among other things he concluded that it was good that the dual implementation of the Criminal Procedure Code would stop on 15 October 2013, that the new provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code would be more efficient, and that all have endorsed the introduction of prosecutorial investigation. The Conclusions of the public hearing will be forwarded to the relevant authorities and ministries.
In addition to the MPs, the public hearing was also attended by representatives of basic public prosecutors’ offices and appellate courts from all over Serbia, the Serbian Bar Association, relevant ministries, international and non-governmental organisations, domestic and German experts.
Committees related to this activity
10.00 - public hearing on the Presentation of the Draft Trade Strategy of the Republic of Serbia by 2025 (National Assembly Building, 14 Kralja Milana Street, Grand Hall)
12.00 - the National Assembly Speaker meets with the Egyptian Ambassador to Serbia (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, diplomatic salon of Prince Pavle Karadjordjevic)
13.00 - continuation of the sitting of the Committee on the Economy, Regional Development, Trade, Tourism and Energy (National Assembly Building, 14 Kralja Milana Street, Grand Hall)
14.00 - sitting of the Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Issues (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 2)