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MDTF Activities > Consultation on draft Functional Review of the Prosecution System in Serbia

Consultation on draft Functional Review of the Prosecution System in Serbia

Following request of the State Prosecutorial Council the MDTF-JSS team prepared the Functional review of the Prosecution System as the most comprehensive examination of the workings of Serbia’s prosecutorial system. The needs for the Review arises from conceptual change of criminal procedure in Serbia and introduction of prosecutorial led investigation. By 2018, when the analysis for the Review was conducted, prosecutors and judges had four years of working with new Criminal Procedure Code. In addition, one of the goals of the Review is to present an objective baseline of current sector performance and assess the progress made towards the prosecutorial goals of Serbia’s 2016 Action Plan for the implementation of the National Judicial Reform Strategy 2013-2018 (NJRS) and Action plan for Chapter 23, which centered on the transfer of competences for the prosecutorial system from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to the State Prosecutorial Council (SPC) and improvement of capacities of the SPC.

The structure of the Functional Review tracks the structure of 2014 Serbia Judicial Functional Review. Accordingly, it includes elements of both external and internal performance assessment. The external performance assessment aspects of the Review examine how well the prosecutorial system serves Serbia’s citizens in terms of the quality and efficiency of the system. The internal performance assessment aspects examine the inner workings of the system and how financial and human resources, ICT and infrastructure are managed and influence on the external performance. Key part of the Review is a detailed assessment of the Governance and Management of the system, since the continued shared authority of the MoJ and the SPC for running many aspects of the prosecutorial system affects all aspects of the system’s operations.

The analyses draw on a mix of quantitative and qualitative data, including statistical analysis data on cases collected by Republic Public Prosecutor Office, finance and human resource data collected by the State Prosecutorial Council and Ministry of Justice, and key informant interviews. The Review assessing data for period 2014-2016, however normative framework and practice were covered in the period 2014-2018.

The Review’s recommendations are designed to be actionable and specific. Serbian authorities will determine which of the recommendations to adopt and how those adopted should be sequenced and funded.

The Functional Review team suggests leaders focus on the following five priorities to achieve the greatest performance improvements in the long run. The first two, in particular, require political commitments from the leadership of Serbia’s major parties, because if implementation of those priorities is not permanent, the message to Serbians and the world at large will be that Serbia’s is not committed to maintaining its status as a modern democracy and the
principles of the rule of law. Since the needs underlying these priorities are so fundamental to the system, if the priorities are not addressed the system will stagnate instead of progressing.
  1. Adopt the pending Constitutional proposals to reform the selection of SPC members and the composition of the SPC.
  2. Give prosecutors effective and not simply theoretical supervision and control of the police during criminal investigations.
  3. Design and implement a unified case management system in all PPOs, and provide the necessary staff and ICT for the prosecutorial system to work.
  4. Introduce a system of regular performance audits of all aspects of prosecutorial operations.
  5. Determine the best methods for providing the training needed for members of the SPC, prosecutors and their staffs at least in the short- and medium terms.

Full text of the Review is available in English. In January and February the MDTF-JSS will organize consultation process with the key stakeholders to validated findings and collect comments on recommendations.

Regular criminal procedure flow chart