CHAPTER 23 – JUDICIARY AND FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS
Accession negotiations are the final stage of the integration process of candidate country to the European Union. It negotiates about the terms under what conditions candidate country accesses the EU, which are basically related to the harmonization of domestic legislation with the EU acquis. The new the European Commission’s approach to negotiations with the future Member States requires that negotiations about Chapters 23 and 24 need to be open first, which cover the area of judiciary and fundamental rights, justice, freedom and security.
Chapter Judiciary and Fundamental Rights is new, it was introduced after the sixth wave of the EU enlargement. Policies of the judiciary and fundamental rights aim at preserving and enhancing the European Union as an area of freedom, security and justice. Meeting the requirements of this chapter, Serbia needs to implement a number of reforms and activities that have a direct impact on the daily life of citizens. In terms of content, Chapter 23 is divided into four thematic areas, which include: judicial reform, anti-corruption policy, fundamental rights and the rights of EU citizens. Independent judiciary, with necessary capacities to maintain and protect the rule of law is the cornerstone of these policies. In the European Union, perceiving the importance of the existence of independent and efficient judiciary, it is defined a series of recommendations for achieving the impartiality, integrity and high standards of the judiciary. It requires a serious commitment to eliminating external influences on the judiciary, allocation of adequate financial resources and training. In addition, Member States are required to effectively fight corruption, because it represents a threat to the stability of democratic institutions and the rule of law. Subject that is discussed in this chapter refers to the fulfillment of the political criteria that are an essential precondition for further integration. There are few regulations at EU level governing this area and most part of them are left to the Member States to regulate these issues on the best way and to comply with standards that are the foundation of the European Union. Considering that the aim of the negotiations that a candidate country joins the EU, it is necessary to establish mutual trust and to ensure the functionality of the system, respecting the values of the European Union itself.
At the polls in 2017. the citizens will have to confirm the changes to the Constitution. The option is for a referendum to be held alongside the presidential election.
Citizens of Serbia could go to the polls twice next year – to elect the new president and to confirm changes to the Constitution that are necessary in the process of negotiations with the European Union by referendum. According to our information it is possible for the presidential elections, which fall in the spring, and the referendum on the Constitution to be held on the same day.
It is impossible for a country to become a new member of the European Union before the next EU budget period in 2021, said today the Head of the Serbian negotiating team for negotiations with the EU Tanja Miščević.
„This is simply a rule and one can’t go beyond that“ said Miščević and added that she would not engage in calculations as to when will the Serbia become a member of the EU because that does not depend solely on Serbia.
In the process of structural changes with the openiing of Chapters 23 and 24 there will be changes to the constitution in order to allow for independent bodies to start their work adequately, which will lead to independence of the judiciary and prosecution, said the director of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (Yucom) Milan Antonijević
Center of contemporary politics and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation are organizing a panel discussion „What awaits in Chapter 23 and 24?“ on Friday 12th of August which is being held as a part of the project „Towards Europe“ that is jointly implemented by these two organizations.
In the process of structural changes with the opening of Chapters 23 and 24 there will be changes to the Constitution, says the director of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (Yucom) Milan Antonijević.
The changes will be made so that the independent bodies, that can enact the independence of judiciary and prosecution, are allowed to begin their work in an adequate manner, he adds.
Does the opening of Chapter 23 and 24, under which Serbia commits itself to the rule of law, mean that the power of Aleksandar Vučić will be limited. The collocutors are Bogoljub Milosavljević, Professor of Law at the Belgrade Union University, and Milan Antonijević, director of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights from Belgrade.
This report presents a set of recommendations to address the issue of independence of the legal profession and the threats faced by lawyers in the execution of their work in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia.
These recommendations were drafted by a group of 50 lawyers from 16 different countries, during a two-day consultation with Mónica Pinto, the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, held at the Human Rights House Belgrade on 11 and 12 June 2016.
The civil proceedings should not last more than two years and criminal proceedings a maximum of five. For similar cases, no matter where the trials take place, consistent verdicts will be made, and politics will no longer have an impact on the Judiciary. The state institutions and its officials will be under even stronger control of the independent bodies. Serbia committed itself to all of this by adopting the Action Plans for Chapter 23 and 24 that were opened yesterday in Brussels.
The meeting of the National Convent on the European Union for Chapter 23, where the final version of the Action plan for the implementation of minority rights (hereinafter AP for minorities), took place on February 19th 2016 in the premises of the National Assembly. Milan Antonijevic, NCEU work group coordinator for Chapter 23, opened the discussion by expressing his satisfaction with the large attendance and the opportunity hear about the role civil society organizations took in the making of the AP for minorities.
The task I received from “Danas” to explain in 7.000 characters Chapter 23, the negotiations with the EU that will follow it as well as the current state of the so called Action plan that is being drawn up in Serbia seems impossible, but I will try anyway.
The negotiations with the European Union are being opened via special chapters which clearly state the aquis communautaire (binding regulations) at the EU level which Serbia will have to adopt.