Serbian judiciary fears constitution reforms will curb independence

By Filip Rudic, Maja Zivanovic, 16 January
As Serbia awaits changes to its constitution, experts fear that planned reforms to the judiciary may have opposite results to those intended.  After Serbia’s Justice Minister announced that amendments to the constitution will be presented this week, associations of Serbian judges and prosecutors say the announced changes – which are supposed to limit political influence over the judiciary – look likely to only further decrease their independence. Serbia, whose courts have long been plagued by political interference, has to reform its judiciary as part of its EU ascension, specifically Chapter 23 of the Acquis, which deals with rule of law. According to the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission, political influence over the Serbian judiciary stems in great part from the fact that judges and most members of the judges’ and prosecutors’ Councils are elected by parliament.  Justice Minister Nela Kuburovic has announced that amendments to the Constitution will be presented this week.

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