For many years the issue of free legal aid has been the subject of disputes between attorneys and civil society organizations. After years of debating on who, when and under which circumstances has the right to provide free legal aid, the Law on Free Legal Aid began implementing on October 1, 2019.
Several provisions of the Law are quite vague, both in terms of determining who the providers of free legal aid are, as well as in determining who exactly is eligible to be the beneficiary of these services. The lack of precision in certain provisions leaves room for arbitrary interpretation.
Similarly, the Law provides for restrictions directed towards associations of citizens, as providers of free legal aid, and allows them to provide free legal aid, but only in cases regarding asylum and prevention of discrimination.
The practice of setting up and using video surveillance system in Serbia is characterized by the lack of transparency of the process itself, as well as insufficient compliance of these activities with the Law on Personal Data Protection and other regulations. The need for better regulations in the area of video surveillance arises from several examples in which such systems have been misused in Serbia.
The question regarding justification for conducting video surveillance of public spaces became a hot topic in early 2019, when the representatives of the Ministry of Interior informed the public about their intentions to initiate the “Safe City” project. As it was announced at the time, the Project alluded to mass processing of personal data of Serbian citizens, by means of video surveillance equipment, which includes facial recognition software. Even today, the public still has no reliable information regarding the exact number of cameras and locations where these cameras will be placed, and there is still no expert analysis regarding the justification for introducing this kind of video surveillance system.
The access to information held by public authorities is one of the corner stones of an open and democratic society based on the rule of law. Likewise, democratic societies rest on the guarantees and effective mechanisms of protection of the citizens’ right to privacy. These very principles – transparent operation of authorities and protection of citizens’ privacy – represent important indicators for the recognition of a society’s level of democracy.
The publication Support to the Implementation of Mediation in Courts and Bar Associations in Serbia is the result of work within the Serbia Pilot Court Mediation project, implemented by Partners for Democratic Change Serbia (Partners Serbia) in the period from December 2015 to April 2017. The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Republic of Serbia recognized the importance of enhancing implementation of mediation in Serbia and supported this Project through its MATRA program.
The Assessment Report presented in this publication was produced as a result of the Criminal Law Reform Project, implemented from July 2015 to September 2016, by the Bar Association of Serbia, in partnership with the National Chamber of Advocacy of Albania, Bar Association of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo Bar Association and Macedonia Bar Association, as well as the civil society organization Partners for Democratic Change Serbia
The access to information in the possession of public authorities represents one of the foundations of an open and democratic society based on the rule of law. In terms of court decisions, the access to such information represents a mechanism for the realization of the procedural rights of participants in court proceedings, as well as for the achievement of transparency of the work of courts, which can considerably improve the public confidence in the judiciary.
In May 2015, Partners Serbia started to work on the project “Privacy Protection and Presumption of Innocence in the Media”, with the support of the Open Society Foundation Serbia (FODS). Within the project, Partners Serbia monitored printed, electronic and online media, with the aim of studying the observation of the two rights in media reports. An analysis was also made of the activities undertaken by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and public prosecutors’ offices with the aim of improving the level of personal data protection in these institutions, and especially preventing information abuse and disclosure to the media.
Author: Vladimir Beljanski Published by: American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) and Partners Serbia
Editors: Catherine Bridge Ana Toskić Authors: Luka Andrić Branko Radulović Milan Stefanović Marko Brežančić Gordon W. Johnson Blažo Nedić Published by: Partners for Democratic Change Serbia For the Publisher: Blažo Nedić Design and layout: Stefan Ignjatović Print: Manuarta, Belgrade Copies: 500 This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Bank for Reconstruction… | More ›
Author: Mary Adele Greer Reviewers: Veljko Delibasic, PhD, Jugoslav Tintor and Aleksandar Popovic Published by: American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative Translation: Darja Koturovic