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MDTF Activities > Presentation of findings - Functional Review of the Prosecution System in Serbia

Presentation of findings - Functional Review of the Prosecution System in Serbia

Prosecutors occupy the key position in the criminal justice chain, responsible for receiving, investigating, and further processing (e.g. disposing) criminal complaints. Because the duties, case resolution mechanisms and procedural requirements vary substantially by judicial system, cross-country comparisons and ranking of performance are difficult.  Nonetheless, collecting this information is important for reasons of transparency, to defend budget requests, to identify and resolve problems, and to track the effects of reforms.  Some comparative statistics are available, as collected by the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) for 45 European countries. Based on the request of the State Prosecutorial Council (SPC) the MDTF JSS team started with preparation of the Functional Review of the Prosecution System in Serbia in 2017. The Functional Review is focused on efficiency and quality of the prosecution system over three year period of implementation of prosecutor lead investigation (2014-2016). Performance results are analyzed in conjunction with available resources – human resources, financial resources, infrastructure and ICT.

The MDTF JSS team presented findings to the SPC members on December 27, 2017. Data availability concerning prosecutor services is much more limited than for courts. There is no unified electronic case management system as there are several local ones running as pilots. As a result, the relevant data sources used in this analysis are annual statistical reports published by the Republic Public Prosecutor Office. The respective reports depend on manual data collection and individual interpretation. Not all data was available in all 2014 to 2016 annual reports and was hence unavailable for this analysis. Public Prosecutor Offices (PPOs) in Serbia, as in the rest of the region, statistically report their caseload by perpetrators – adults, juveniles, unknown or legal entities thus causing challenges in creation of statistics for the whole criminal chain, starting with police and prosecutors and ending in courts. While in courts one case may contain many parties, in PPOs all reporting is concentrated only around one perpetrator.

According to CEPEJ 2016 (2014 data) report, the demand for prosecutor services in Serbia was lower than in EU Member States but higher than in other Western Balkans countries and EU 11 countries.

Clearance rates of Serbian PPOs are constantly rising in the observed three year period (2014-2016) amounting to 93 percent in 2016. Recorded results are positive and tell us that PPOs are starting to overcome the initial challenges caused by the new CPC. Regardless of reported progress, the backlogs were still increasing each year. Presentation of the findings are available here.