17 September 2021  The participants of the public hearing

17 September 2021 The participants of the public hearing

Friday, 17 September 2021

11th Public Hearing on Changes to Constitution in Field of Judiciary

The National Assembly House hosted the 11th public hearing on the changes to the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia in the field of the judiciary, organised by the Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Issues.


The public hearing was opened by the Chairperson of the Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Issues Jelena Zaric Kovacevic who thanked Minister of Justice Maja Popovic, the judge of the Constitutional Court and a member of the Venice Commission for Serbia Prof. Dr Vladan Petrov, members of the Working Group for the Drafting of the Act to amend the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, representatives of judicial and independent state bodies, civil society organisations, representatives of international organisations, the University and the Judicial Academy.

The Committee Chairperson outlined the constitutional amendment process so far, reminding the participants of the public hearing that the Government of the Republic of Serbia had submitted a Proposal to amend the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia to the National Assembly on 4 December 2020, and at a sitting held on 6 May 2021, the Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Issues determined that the said Proposal had been submitted in the prescribed form and proceeded to submit a Report to the National Assembly. At a special session held on 7 June, the National Assembly considered and adopted the Proposal to amend the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia by a two-third majority of the total number of MPs. In view of the importance of constitutional changes and its role in the procedure, the Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Issues organised seven public hearings in April, May and June on the topic: Changes to the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia in the field of justice, in order to gather information, opinions and views of various relevant institutions, associations and experts in the field on the proposed changes to the Constitution. Representatives of the judiciary, professional associations, independent state bodies, the professional public and bar associations of Serbia, representatives of civil society, embassies of the EU, UK, US and Canada, as well as representatives of international organisations, EU Delegation to Serbia. OSCE Mission in Serbia and the Council of Europe Office in Belgrade took part in the public hearings, said the Committee Chairperson.

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.

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”, stated 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.

In the ensuing discussion, the participants of the public hearing shared their comments on the texts of the act amending the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia and the draft constitutional law for the implementation of Amendments I to XXX to the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, as well as proposals for their further improvement.


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monday, 18 october
  • 11.30 - the National Assembly Speaker takes part in the on-line meeting of the EP facilitated Inter-Party Dialogue (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, library)

  • 12.30 - the National Assembly Speaker makes press statement (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, Central Hall)

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