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Amendments to improve judicial laws

Transparency Serbia calls on the National Assembly to reduce the corruption risks in the set of judicial laws by adopting the amendments submitted by the parliamentarians on the proposal of the TS.

Transparency Serbia has submitted proposals for specific amendments to all parliamentary groups in the Assembly, which aim to improve the proposals for laws on judges, public prosecutions, the High Council of the Judiciary and the High Council of Prosecutions. TS made 11 proposals for the Law on Judges, eight for the Law on Public Prosecution and 13 for both laws on judicial councils.

Many of these amendments entered the parliamentary procedure since 28 MPs proposed them. The MPs are from four parliamentary clubs (Green-Left Club - Ne davimo Beograd, Srpski Pokret Dveri - Patriotic Bloc, Democratic Party and United - SSP-PSG-Revolution-Sloga).

The Government, as the authorized proposer, rejected all amendments. The parliamentary Committee for Justice also rejected them by a majority of votes. The reasons for the refusal are not known. Namely, although the Rules of Procedure of the National Assembly for more than 12 years foresee that the amendments will be publicly available following technical possibilities, this is still not the case. This information is visible only to members of Parliament.

Amendments to the draft law on public prosecution and the law on judges represent an attempt to eliminate corruption risks. We are talking about provisions where unclear, imprecise and ambiguous wording is used, provisions where there are legal gaps or where the grounds for discretionary decision-making are widely prescribed. Also, the subject of interventions is provisions that do not provide enough guarantees to achieve complete and real transparency of the judiciary's work. Similarly, in the draft laws regulating the work of judicial councils, we tried to increase the transparency and responsibility of the work of the members of these bodies, which is particularly significant in a situation where the Constitution guarantees too broad immunity. The proposals also aimed to improve the selection process of Council members, both among prominent lawyers and among judges and public prosecutors.

Regardless of the negative attitude of the Government, it is essential that these amendments are taken into account due to a large number of corruption risks. Neither MPs nor citizens are aware of whether the Agency for the Prevention of Corruption has identified some of those risks and how the Ministry of Justice and the Government of Serbia considered the Agency's opinion. According to the representative of the Ministry of Justice, the opinion of the Agency was requested and received. Still, it is not mentioned in the explanation of the proposed law, nor did the Agency publish it.