Serbia - annual report 2013

Länderbericht Serbien 201350th anniversary of the establishment of the Serbian Constitutional Court: President Tomislav Nikolic welcomes the guests

General – Conceptual orientation

Legal policy starting point

The legal policy starting point in Serbia changed considerably in January 2014 as a result of the official beginning of negotiations with the EU on accession. This means that the need for consultation in harmonising the law and support in training for practical application of the law increased considerably. What is more, Chapters 23 "Judiciary and fundamental rights" and 24 "Judiciary, freedom and security" continue to require particular efforts in Serbia, also in the view of the EU.

Cooperation to date

The IRZ began legal cooperation with Serbia in 2001 in the framework of the Stability Pact for South East Europe. It has focussed since then on consultation on important EU-compatible reform statues, on the structure of the judicial system, as well as on the basic and further training of legal practitioners. The many years of cooperation with the Serbian Constitutional Court on the successful introduction of the constitutional complaint constitute a special focus. Furthermore, the IRZ implemented a whole series of projects, some of which were very extensive. The IRZ has also intensified the cooperation with non-governmental organisations in recent years.

Major partners

  • Constitutional Court
  • Ministry of Justice
  • Office for Human and Minority Rights
  • Parliament's Committee on Legal Affairs
  • Administrative Court
  • Judicial Academy
  • Law Faculty of the University of Belgrade
  • Office of Intellectual Property
  • Association of Public Prosecutors
  • Academy of Criminalistic and Police Studies
  • German-Serbian Trade Association
  • Zoran Djindjić Foundation
  • Constitutional Law Association
  • Institute for Comparative Law
  • Society for Insurance Law
  • Delegate Office of German Industry and Commerce for Serbia
  • Law Faculty of the University of Belgrade
  • Singipedia academic Internet portal
  • Society for the Study and Reception of German law
  • Harmonius Network of Young Legal Scholars in South-East Europe

Strategy and method

The main goal of the IRZ in Serbia is to support the country on its path to the EU. The focus most recently was on the institutional reform of the public prosecution office in preparation for its new role as the "authority in charge of the investigative proceedings" along German lines.

The future activities aim to continue the consultation by successful implementation. To this end, amongst other things training courses and further training are on the agenda. The IRZ will emphasise the significance of a clear orientation towards continental European legal principles and legal models in order to avoid hybrid solutions. Furthermore, it would like to step up the regional approach by means of which lawyers from Serbia and from the neighbouring countries will be linked.

Foci of activity in 2013

Constitutional law / human rights and their enforcement

  • Roundtable of the Serbian Constitutional Court on the topic of "Protecting the rule of law" in Belgrade
  • International conference on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Serbian Constitutional Court with the topic of "The situation and outlook of the constitutional jurisdiction" in Belgrade
  • Multilateral symposium on Constitutional Law at the University of Regensburg with the participation of judges from the Serbian Constitutional Court
  • Conference on European anti-discrimination standards as a part of a regional project supported by the Federal Foreign Office with funds to promote human rights in cooperation with the Office for Human and Minority Rights
  • Presentation of the book publication "Practical introduction to European anti-discrimination standards" at the abovementioned conference
  • Distribution of this publication also in electronic form via the website of the Office for Human and Minority Rights of the Serbian Government

Civil and commercial law

  • Conference on international arbitration jurisdiction on the topic of "Arbitration jurisdiction – the right way to draw up an arbitration clause" in Belgrade together with the German Institution of Arbitration (DIS), the German-Serbian Trade Association (DSW) and the Delegate Office of German Industry and Commerce
  • Working visit by legal staff from the Serbian Office of Intellectual Property to the Bild-Kunst collecting society in Bonn
  • Support for a conference of the Serbian Society for Insurance Law on the harmonisation of Serbian insurance law in Palic

Administration of justice

  • Roundtable on the topic of "The judiciary and the media" together with the Serbian Institute of Comparative Law in Belgrad
  • Publication of two issues of the journal entitled Nova Pravna Revija - Casopis za domace, njemacko i evropsko pravo ("Journal for regional, German and European law", shortened to: NPR), which is published as a German-Bosnian-Herzegovinian-Serbian cooperation • Distribution of this journal also in electronic form via the Belgrade Singipedia academic Internet portal
  • Distribution of further specialist publications which are co-edited by the IRZ to selected project partners in Serbia

Public law

  • Participation by members of the Committee on Legal Affairs of the Serbian Parliament at the III International Conference of Parliamentary Committees on Legal Affairs in Berlin
  • Seminar for Serbian administrative court judges together with the Serbian Judicial Academy, amongst other things on the topic of construction law
  • Cooperation with the Harmonius Network of Young Legal Scholars in South-East Europe - Support for the journal entitled "Harmonius – Journal of Legal and Social Studies in South East Europe" - Three-day winter schools in Zlatibor on current topics of EU law with participants from the region - Support for a multi-language website on the harmonisation of national law with EU law

Criminal law and the law on the prison system

  • Conference together with the Police Academy on the topic of "Cooperation between the public prosecution office and the police in investigation procedure – the new Serbian Code of Criminal Procedure" in Belgrade
  • Support for the Committee on Legal Affairs of the Serbian Parliament by contributing an open hearing on the new Code of Criminal Procedure in the Serbian Parliament
  • Publication of the translation of the Guidelines for Criminal and Administrative Fines Proceedings (RiStBV) including its annexes that was done in the previous year in the context of the project work, with an introduction as a book publication

Event “Justice and the Media”: Section of the podium at the event

Event "Justice and the Media": Section of the podium at the event

Basic and further training

  • Participation by staff from the Judicial Academy at the regional workshop "Basic and further training of legal trainees, judges and public prosecutors – experience in the development and implementation of training programmes" in Podgorica
  • Support for the "Master's in European Integration" Master's course at the Law Faculty of Belgrade through guest lectures given by German speakers
  • Legal terminology course entitled "German for lawyers" for Germanspeaking Serbian lawyers at the Judicial Academy
  • Participation by young Serbian lawyers at the summer school entitled "German law" in Brühl and Bonn
  • Participation by a Serbian student at the legal terminology course of the Goethe Institute in Bonn
  • Support for a legal internship awarded in a competition organised by the Zoran Djindjić Foundation for a Serb lawyer at the German Institution of Arbitration (DIS) in Cologne


The IRZ will be continuing the series of seminars and further training events with the abovementioned partner organisations and continuing to support them in the implementation of the Judicial Reform Acts. It will be stepping up cooperation with institutions and individual national experts working in the field of research on German law and its reception, including its contacts and experience from the project work in further countries of the region. This includes support for young lawyers, in particular those with a knowledge of German language and law.