The aim of the workshop was to improve implementation and reporting on implementation of activities set in the Action plan for Chapter 23. The workshop was performed by consultants from the Reform and Accession Facilitation Unit based at the Ministry of Justice (RAFU MOJ) Milica Kolakovic – Bojovic, the Consultant for the Reform of Criminal Justice System, Darja Koturovic, the Consultant for Access to Justice, Vladimir Vukicevic, the Consultant for Human Rights and Lazar Djurovic, the Consultant for Anti-corruption.
The workshop was organized following a series of bilateral and multilateral meetings focused on the challenges in implementation and/or reporting on implementation of activities set in the Action plan for Chapter 23. Given the fact that these meetings were attended by high level officials of responsible institutions, it was proposed to organize additional training of the contact points for reporting.
RAFU MOJ has subsequently prepared written comments for each of the inadequate reports submitted by the responsible institutions in the last reporting cycle (I quarter of 2017) and provided these comments to responsible institutions. The concept was to enable the contact points to see the precise issues related to the reports in order to be prepared to discuss potential improvements at the workshop.
The workshop was attended by 43 contact points from the responsible institutions. A power point presentation was delivered, focusing on the Guidelines for reporting and some of the examples of identified shortcomings in the submitted reports. Each of the challenges was addressed with an aim to improve future reports. In addition, problems in implementation of concrete activities were also addressed, and RAFU MOJ suggested provision of supplementary support where necessary.
The Head of Negotiating Group for Chapter 23, Mr. Backovic, addressed the participants, focusing on the importance of implementation of activities set in the Action plan for Chapter 23, effective reporting on the undertaken actions, as well as responsibility of persons in charge for specific activities in concrete institutions. He also informed the contact points of the possibility to address the Negotiating Group for Chapter 23 in case of encountering problems in implementation and/or reporting, with an aim to timely resolve potential obstacles to implementation.
RAFU MOJ briefed the contact points on the latest consultations with the European Commission, which have resulted in a slightly altered assessment of the activities which are not finalized. Particular focus was given on the ‘quality check’ of the reports provided by responsible institutions. Participants were also informed about the new approach in implementation of activities set in the Action plan for Chapter 23 and Action plan for Chapter 24, which involves weekly coordination meetings.
Through the discussion, it was recognized that some institutions have different persons responsible for reporting on the Action plan for Chapter 23 and other relevant reports such as Stabilization and Association Agreement, which results in different reports (numbers, statistics) provided to the European Commission. It was agreed to examine these cases and identify the most appropriate solution for future reporting.
Finally, the provided Track Record Tables were discussed, both in terms of quality of data included, as well as the deficiencies identified by the European Commission. Clarifications were provided and it was agreed to revisit this issue with the EC, particularly in terms of the timeframe of data provided (which is of key importance when it comes to courts and prosecutors’ offices, given their timetable of regular reporting).