Venice Commission: Serbia needs better judicial solutions

NEWS 25.06.2018 19:58
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The Council of Europe’s Venice Commission called on Serbia to seek a different solution for the election of the High Judicial Council’s (VSS) members, a Belgrade-based FoNet news agency reported on Monday.

The Commission has said that an amendment to the Constitution envisaging that the VSS’ members who do not come from the judicial system (five out of eleven) are elected in the parliament opens a possibility for half of them to be loyal to the current authorities.

That makes the pluralism within the VSS highly unlikely, the Commission said, mainly because both a justice minister and a supreme public prosecutor are supposed to be the VSS members, the agency repored.

The other objections which the Venice Commission had on Serbia’s constitutional judiciary amendments are related to the solution which does not secure a pluralism also within the High Prosecutors’ Council, and to a 30-day deadline for the VSS to rule on a case or be disbanded.

Such provision can easily lead to rashly decisions, or often disbandment of the VSS, the Commission said.

It added that the responsibility of the judges and prosecutors is not precisely regulated and leaves a wide space for suspension of both the judges and the public prosecutors’ deputies.

The Commission offered assistance to Serbia in drafting the constitutional amendments, since its opinion on country’s justice system will affect the opening of chapter 23 about the judiciary and fundamental rights in the accession negotiations with the European Union.