Partners Serbia

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The Analysis of the State of Transparency and Openness of Judicial Authorities

The Analysis of the State of Transparency and Openness of Judicial Authorities

To help the work of the judicial system become more open to understanding for citizens, Partners Serbia has been engaging in activities focused on the improvement of judicial transparency. This analysis on the state of transparency of judicial institutions stresses the importance of improving the situation in this field and bases our advocacy activities on documented facts. The analysis is intended for all judicial authorities to ensure that they improve their activities in the field of transparency, especially since some of the identified shortcomings can be relatively easily remedied due to their dependence on the will of individual courts and prosecutor offices. The analysis is also intended for all institutions and professionals participating in the judicial reform process as a way to strategically address identified shortcomings in this field.

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State Led AI and Biometric Surveillance Initiatives in a Captured State - How Serbia’s Draft Law on Internal Affairs (2021/2022) will Impact Civil Society and Serbia’s Path Toward Democracy

State Led AI and Biometric Surveillance Initiatives in a Captured State - How Serbia’s Draft Law on Internal Affairs (2021/2022) will Impact Civil Society and Serbia’s Path Toward Democracy

The paper analyzes the state of democracy in Serbia to understand how state led artificial intelligence and biometric surveillance initiatives will impact Serbia’s path toward democratization. Section 1 describes the state of democracy in the country by reviewing the country’s party system, the functioning of the branches of government, the quality of media freedom, the capacity of independent authorities, and the role of civil society. Section 2 looks at the state led biometric and artificial intelligence initiatives, specifically the Draft Law on Internal Affairs. Section 3 uses Section 1 and analyzes it under the framework of David-Barrett’s state capture framework and draws conclusions on how the Draft Law and other similar initiatives will impact civil society and the future of democracy in Serbia. This analysis draws the conclusion that due to Serbia’s position in state capture, passing the Draft Law on Internal Affairs and legitimizing the use of AI and biometric surveillance technology will hinder the ability of civil society to function, and thus threaten Serbia’s transition to democracy.

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The Analysis of the State of Transparency and Openness of Judicial Authorities - Summary and recommendations

The Analysis of the State of Transparency and Openness of Judicial  Authorities - Summary and recommendations

Partners Serbia has conducted research on the state of transparency of courts and prosecutors’ offices. The research, conducted between August 2021 and July 2022, was focused on three topics: • Proactive transparency and communication of judicial authorities through websites. • Reactive transparency (judicial authorities’ response to requests for access to information of public importance). • Cooperation between judicial authorities and media. The Analysis of the State of Transparency and Openness of Judicial Authorities was developed on the basis of the research and is available on the website of Partners Serbia.

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The Analysis of the State of Transparency and Openness of Judicial Authorities

The Analysis of the State of Transparency and Openness  of Judicial Authorities

According to different surveys, Serbian citizens have had a very low level of trust in judicial authorities for years.1 The only experience most citizens have had with the judicial system is their personal participation in court proceedings that are slow, and where justice and law frequently stand on the opposite sides. Moreover, media reports have the greatest influence on citizens’ opinion about the judiciary. The trend of institutional silence has not bypassed judicial authorities, which has paved the way to the tabloidization of investigations and court proceedings and enabled public officials to condemn or exonerate defendants in their speeches, which has, in turn, created an impression of incompetence and incapability of judicial authorities in the general public. Greater judicial transparency is a prerequisite for greater citizens' trust in the judiciary, as well as for greater independence of judicial authorities. In order for the judiciary to get closer to citizens, its rapprochement with the society calls for the opening of the judiciary towards citizens and learning how to communicate with them. Of course, rather than exposing court proceedings to additional tabloidization, judiciary should be helped to get closer to citizens. It is well known that full transparency is not possible, primarily because of the need to protect the effectiveness of investigations and interests of the involved; however, a better understanding of the way in which the judiciary functions would help to increase citizens' trust. The role of the media is to contribute to this by reporting truthfully and professionally, although this is not all. In their stories and investigations, media, and primarily investigative reporters, frequently reveal different corruption and fraud cases, which should ideally facilitate the work of prosecutors. Media also play an important role when it comes to the improvement of judicial independence and protection of individuals within the judicial system. The public represents the only barrier from pressure by other branches of power, while media provide a platform through which the voice of the judiciary can be heard.

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Cooperation between the judiciary and the local media - Summary of analysis and recommendations

Cooperation between the judiciary and the local media - Summary of analysis and recommendations

This document is intended to inform decision-makers about main problems in communication between judicial authorities and media, both at the local and national levels. The lack of institutional openness and absence of trust between judicial authorities and media are among the most common characteristics of poor communication, on which both players must work strategically and make decisions. The appointment of persons in charge of media relations by judicial authorities, as well as better training of journalists for reporting on court proceedings represent the starting basis for good and unimpeded communication.

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LAWS AND SIGNIFICANT EVENTS HIGHLIGHTING DATA PRIVACY ISSUES IN THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA

LAWS AND SIGNIFICANT EVENTS HIGHLIGHTING DATA PRIVACY ISSUES IN THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA

The right to privacy and protection of personal data in Serbia has never been highly regarded on the scale of human rights. The development and extensive use of new technologies have brought new risks to these rights, and Serbian citizens face a series of initiatives and projects by public authorities that greatly invade their privacy. An additional problem represents the inefficiency of mechanisms for protection of these rights and the abandonment of adequate control in the development and application of these initiatives. In order to inform citizens about existing initiatives and events relevant to the right to privacy in our country, Partners Serbia has drafted a presentation outlining the chronology of the most important events in this area. The presentation will be updated regularly to take into account all relevant events and facts.

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SERBIA DIGITAL AGENDA OBSERVATORY 2022

SERBIA DIGITAL AGENDA OBSERVATORY 2022

The global pandemic caused by COVID-19 accelerated the shift to all things digital with lightning speed. E-government services were not an exception to that. In the previous 2 years there was a 31% increase in the number of registered users of the e-Uprava portal of the Republic of Serbia. There were a little over 5 million payment slips created via “Plati” e-service, proving its relevance for the citizens. As a direct consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were 1,465,357 digital green certificates issued. These are very good results, however there is still significant room for improvement, especially in areas of improving user-centricity and product- and project-management. Insights gained through the research for the report, as well as certain official benchmarks indicate this. For example, certain indicators from the Action plan for implementation of the Development program of e-Government 2019-22 did not meet its targets yet1 . User-centricity and more widespread usage of e-services must be at the forefront of focus in both short- and long-term activities of all relevant stakeholders of Digital agenda.

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Privacy and Personal Data Protection in Serbia

Privacy and Personal Data Protection in Serbia

This publication was designed to highlight the current situation regarding human rights, privacy and personal data protection in selected areas during Year 2021 and 2022. The text refers to the process of adopting a Strategy on Personal Data Protection, the introduction of video surveillance with the possibility of facial recognition into the legal framework, judicial practice in personal data protection cases, the right of the child to privacy in a digital environment, and protection of personal data when applying for the workplace. The publication has no pretension to display a comprehensive state of privacy and data protection in Serbia, but only to point out certain areas, present recommendations for more appropriate treatment, and leave room for further discussion of these topics in public.

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Privacy and Personal Data Protection in Serbia - An Analysis of Selected Sectoral Regulations and Their Implementation

Privacy and Personal Data Protection in Serbia - An Analysis of Selected Sectoral Regulations and Their Implementation

the purpose of this publication is to help understand the weaknesses of existing regulations and their implementation in specific sectoral areas and to provide recommendations on how to improve the identified situation. the selection of the relevant thematic areas reflects a high level of commitment to human rights by the organizations implementing the project, the observation of which extends beyond the right to privacy and personal data protection. We hope that, in addition to their main purpose, the presented analyses will help ensure better understanding of the importance of the right to privacy and personal data protection as preconditions for the protection of other rights and freedoms, such as freedom of expression and the right to protection from discrimination, as well as reaffirm the unbreakable ties between privacy and human dignity.

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The Analysis of Implementation of Transparency Standards in Courts in the Republic of Serbia

The Analysis of Implementation of Transparency Standards in Courts in the Republic of Serbia

The right to free access to information of public importance is one of the most important mechanisms for controlling the work of public authority bodies. This right ensures their transparency, reduces the opportunity for corruption and protects public interests. The Constitution of the Republic of Serbia also says that public authority bodies have the obligation to ensure that their work is public and accessible to citizens. This area is more closely regulated by the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance.

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