Title:Constitution of the Republic of Serbia – Issues and the need for reform
Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights – YUCOM, in the period from February – December 2013, implements the project Amending the Constitution online and offline which is financially supported by National Endowment for Democracy (National Endowment for Democracy – NED). The aim of the project is to establish conditions to amend the Constitution, which would lead to greater harmonization of the Constitution with the standards of human rights and freedoms, international law and democracy, including as many sides interested in the debate on amending the constitution and establishing a common platform of civil society and formulating priority areas in order to amend the Constitution and eliminating defects observed in previous analyzes and constitutional practice. The project is a continuation of the debate on the need to amend the Constitution of Serbia, which YUCOM has already initiated in 2011 under the project “Constitutional Changes for Democratic Serbia in the European Union”, which was also supported by NED.
It is anticipated that this objective is achieved through: obtaining support through new modern technologies and social networks; determining the main omissions in the Constitution relating to human rights and freedoms and democracy in relation to international standards; strengthening the arguments of civil society organizations to intercede for amending the Constitution; establishing cooperation and receiving support from the government and political parties for the purpose of the abovementioned changes. Within the implementation of projects, YUCOM will hold a series of roundtable discussions, formal and informal meetings with representatives of civil society, political parties, academic community, the judiciary. The aim of this is to define a wider circle of problems of our constitutional practices and pointing out as many omissions of the current Constitution, in order to reach a common platform of civil society to intercede for amending the Constitution and to start with its change. With the same aim, YUCOM has initiated a website http://mojustav.rs/, which contains the text of the Constitution, expert comments, examples of the practice of the Constitutional Court, the brief history of the constitutionality of Serbia and the texts of all old Serbian Constitutions, video clips, publications and articles from the media relating to the Constitution and the constitutional amendments. Website visitors can comment on each article of the Constitution, allowing broad participation of all stakeholders and to actively contribute to identifying problems and formulating solutions.
OBJECTIVES AND REPORT CONTENT
“The Constitution of the Republic of Serbia – Issues and the need for reform” represents the preliminary report on the omissions of the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia from 2006 and it is developed as the result of work YUCOM’s team of lawyers and experts on the analysis of the omissions of the existing constitutional text and constitutional practice. The report was created as the first in a series of three reports that are provided within the project implementation and contains some analysis which YUCOM’s team had already published in 2011 in the publication “The Constitution at the Crossroads – Report on constitutional practice, the omissions of the Constitution and solutions for its improvements” as well as analysis of the Constitution by the Venice Commission. The report has also analyzed the results of research conducted in 2012 by the Fund for an Open Society on the subject of the attitudes of citizens and representatives of the elite towards the need to amend the Constitution. This preliminary report also contains the results of the continuous consultative process and research work which YUCOM’s co-workers have implemented in daily practice of providing aid to citizens whose constitutional rights and freedoms are endangered.