In October 2012, the Ministry of Justice and State Administration of the Republic of Serbia opened a public debate on the working version of the law amending and completing the Criminal code. In article 54a of this version, hate crime is defined for the first time: hate by reason of the victim’s racial, religious, national or ethnical belonging, sex, sexual orientation or sexual identity, as a motive to commit criminal offences is provided for as an aggravating circumstance in determining the sentence except where this circumstance does not characterize a criminal offence as provided for by law. YUCOM and GSA submitted commentaries on the working version of the draft law within the requested deadline. As official initiator of the draft law amending and completing the Criminal code, the Government referred it, including article 54a, to the National Assembly in December. The National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia adopted the draft law on 24 December 2012 by a majority vote, and the law entered into force on 1st January 2013. This law codifies hate crime in Serbian domestic legislation for the first time. After that, YUCOM and GSA conducted the project Hate crime in criminal legislation – an efficient way for the prevention and reduction of violence, in order to increase effectiveness of implementation of the article 54a.
Hate crime – establishing mechanisms and monitoring of its implementation, presents the continuation of the activities aimed to strengthen mechanisms for combating hate crime in Serbia. The project’s objective is to enhance capacity and commitment to integrate marginalized and minority groups in general in order to meet international human rights standards and safeguard the rights of vulnerable communities in the justice system. The project aims to establish mechanisms for combating hate crime and minimize the level of violence in Serbia, through following activities:
1. Advocacy for establishment of mechanisms for combating hate crime through numerous meetings with representatives of relevant state bodies (Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior Affairs, the Public prosecutor, Commissioner for equality protection, Judicial academy);
2. Continuation of maintaining a network of CSOs dealing with human rights which is developed in previous period;
3. Monitoring trials for hate crime;
4. Analysis of judiciary effectiveness and reactions of the prosecutor’s office in this cases and publish the analysis online;
5. Organization of seminars in two cities in Serbia for CSOs and human right defenders.
6. Small grants for CSOs will be provided in order to support CSOs dealing with hate crime issues;
7. Final press conference will be organized. Participants will be relevant state bodies, CSOs and media. Results of the project will be presented to stakeholders, media and general public.