Promoting the journal “Continental law” at the Belgrade Faculty of Law: Prof. Dr. Miloš Živković, professor at the Belgrade Faculty of Law; Dr. Stefan Pürner, IRZ; Alexander Jung, permanent representative of the German Ambassador; Prof. Dr. Sima Avramović, Dean of the Belgrade Faculty of Law; Prof. Dr. Milan Škulić, judge at the Constitutional Court of Serbia and professor at the Belgrade Faculty of Law (from left to right)
Promoting the journal “Continental law” at the Belgrade Faculty of Law: Prof. Dr. Miloš Živković, professor at the Belgrade Faculty of Law; Dr. Stefan Pürner, IRZ; Alexander Jung, permanent representative of the German Ambassador; Prof. Dr. Sima Avramović, Dean of the Belgrade Faculty of Law; Prof. Dr. Milan Škulić, judge at the Constitutional Court of Serbia and professor at the Belgrade Faculty of Law (from left to right)

Legal Policy Situation

The Republic of Serbia, with which the EU started accession negotiations formally in January 2014, opened negotiations on Chapters 23 (Justice and Fundamental Rights) and 24 (Justice, Freedom and Security) in July 2016. For this reason, the need for advice on the harmonisation of law and for assistance in training in the practical application of law has even increased. What is more, the EU considers that special efforts are required in the areas of judiciary and fundamental rights as well as in the areas of justice, freedom and security.

Overall Concept

The IRZ began legal cooperation with Serbia in 2000 within the framework of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe. A particular focus of the cooperation with Serbia is the long-standing collaboration with the Serbian Constitutional Court, which began with the consultation on the successful introduction of the constitutional complaint and is now being continued with the joint staging of regional constitutional court conferences. These and other bilateral activities are complemented by EU funded projects (Technical Assistance and Twinning). The partners of the IRZ include the Constitutional Court, the law faculties of the Universities of Belgrade and Kragujevac, the Society for Insurance Law, the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Serbia, the Society for the Study of German Law and its Reception as well as the Harmonius Network of Young Law Scholars.

The main objective of the IRZ in Serbia is to support the country on its way into the EU. The focus here is on an effective application of the law in accordance with the rule-of-law principles of a constitutional state. The IRZ emphasises the importance of a clear orientation towards Continental European legal principles and legal models in order to prevent hybrid solutions. Furthermore, it strengthens cooperation between lawyers from Serbia and its neighbouring countries.

Foci of Activity 2017

Constitutional Law/Human Rights and their Enforceability

  • Regional Constitutional Conference “Constitutional Court protection in Criminal law ” in Zlatibor
  • Participation of Serbian constitutional judges in the regional conference “Equality before the law in Constitutional Court Practice” in Budva, Montenegro, organised in cooperation with the Montenegrin Constitutional Court
  • Participation of the Serbian President of the Constitutional Court and a further constitutional judge in the Regional Conference of the Constitutional Court “Theory and practice of the independence of constitutional courts” in Jahorina, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Publication: “Yearbook of Constitutional Law 2017/Volume 2”, Belgrade, including publication of papers of the above-mentioned conference

Civil and Commercial Law

  • Annual insurance law conference of the Serbian Association for Insurance Law on “Proportionality and Legal Certainty in Insurance Law” together with the Association of the German Insurance Industry (GDV) in Palić
  • Conference “Conflict Management – Preparation and Avoidance of Arbitration Proceedings” in cooperation with the German Institution of Arbitration (DIS), the German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce and the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Belgrade
  • Translation and printing of the General Part of the German Civil Code (BGB) with an introductory commentary, Belgrade

Administration of Law

  • Regional Conference “Law and Transformation” at the Law Faculty of the University of Belgrade
  • Conference “Justice and Media” together with the Serbian Judges’ Association in Belgrade
  • Working visit of legal scholars to Munich, Nuremberg and Regensburg on the subject of “Methods of coming to terms with the past”, in cooperation with the Institute for Eastern Law of Munich in Munich, Nuremberg and Regensburg
  • Consulting to the Serbian Ministry of Justice on the “Preparation of an expert opinion on the organisation of the judiciary and the organisational position of the Public Prosecutor’s Office”, Belgrade
  • Symposium “Legal transformation in South-East Europe using former Yugoslavia as an example: prerequisites, parties involved, failures and successes” in Berlin in cooperation with the Southeast Europe Association

Basic and Further Training

  • Support for the Master’s programme “European Integration” at the Law Faculty of the University of Belgrade
  • Course in German legal terminology for German-speaking judges and young lawyers at the Law Faculty of the University of Belgrade
  • Participation of German-speaking Serbian students in the IRZ’s “Summer school German Law” in Brühl and Bonn
  • Support for the sixth issue of the publication “Harmonius – Journal of Legal and Social Studies in South East Europe” in cooperation with the Harmonius network of young lawyers
  • Support of the Harmonius network website with extensive downloadable material
  • Publication of the first issue of the publication “Continental Law – journal for sustainable and appropriate legal development” in cooperation with Belgrade legal experts
  • Event for the public presentation of the aforementioned journal in Belgrade
  • Establishment of a homepage of this journal (http://kontinentalnopravo.info)
  • Participation of Serbian students in the regional block seminar “Introduction to German Law” at the Faculty of Law of the University of Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Two lectures on law under National Socialism at the Faculty of Law, Kragujevac University

Projects financed by the European Union

IPA Project: Policy and Legal Advice Centre (PLAC II)

Since 2016, the IRZ has been supporting the European Integration Ministry of the Republic of Serbia and other Serbian institutions in the area of EU approximation, particularly in the area of legislation, in a consortium led by the Spanish company Altair Asesores as part of the IPA project “Policy and Legal Advice Centre” (PLAC II). The project, which is based on a previous PLAC project, has a volume of around EUR 2.6 million and a term of 30 months. It focuses on the important chapters opened during the accession negotiations with the EU.

EU Twinning Project: Improving capacities and capabilities within the prison system in the Republic of Serbia

The IRZ is carrying out this EU Twinning project with the support of the Austrian AED as a junior partner. It is part of the “Strategy for the Improvement of the System of Execution of Criminal Sanctions in the Republic of Serbia until 2020” adopted by the Serbian government on 23 December 2013 and has a total budget of EUR 1 million.

The project aims to provide support in three key areas:

  • Organisational and institutional support for the “Centre for Training and Vocational Training of Detainees”
  • Improvement of expertise and competencies of prison staff
  • Education and training of female inmates of the women’s detention centre in Požarevac

The implementation of the project began on 4 July 2017 with the arrival of the Resident Twinning Advisor at the Centre for Training and Vocational Education of the Administration for Enforcement of Penal Sanctions in Niš and was opened with an official ceremony in September 2017 at the Palata Srbije (Palace of Serbia in Belgrade).

With the first activities in 2017, we have been able to build a solid foundation for the successful implementation of future missions, as some of the important and binding results have already been achieved:

  • Analysis of the legal situation with recommendations on improving the organisational and technical capacities for the “Centre for Training and Vocational Education of the Administration for Enforcement of Penal Sanctions”
  • Analysis of training needs for employees in the penitentiary system
  • Analysis of the current status of the probation assistance system in Serbia with recommendations on the most effective post-release modalities
  • Organisation and implementation of a study visit to Austria for the staff of the Serbian Ministry of Justice

The beneficiary of the project is the Serbian Ministry of Justice (Directorate for Enforcement in the Penitentiary System), the client is the Central Office for Financing and Contracting at the Serbian Ministry of Finance (CFCU).

Outlook

The IRZ will continue the series of seminars and training events with the above-mentioned partner organisations, in particular with regard to chapters 23 and 24 of the EU accession negotiations. It will strengthen the cooperation with institutions and individual national experts who are dedicated to the Continental European legal tradition as well as to researching German law and its reception. In addition, young legal professionals will continue to be supported.

In the framework of the EU funded projects, the IRZ will carry on its activities in technical assistance and Twinning projects for the Ministry of Justice, other legal organisations and law enforcement authorities in the coming years, in particular with regard to EU accession negotiations, institutional and organisational support as well as education and training programmes.