by Eva Erren
A 3-year project to enforce the rule of law in Serbia officially started last week when a needs assessment has been conducted in Belgrade and Novi Sad. The project aims to decrease overcrowding in correctional institutions through a more proper use of alternatives to imprisonment, as well as to decrease of recidivism as a result of more efficient pre- and post-penal supervision and active support towards successful reintegration.
The project is funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and will be implemented in collaboration with the Netherlands Helsinki Committee (NHC is the lead partner). The partners in Serbia are the Ministry of Justice and the Judicial Academy, but NHC and CILC will also cooperate with Serbian Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) like Neostart and the Belgrade Center for Human Rights. Beneficiaries of the project will include Serbian judges, prosecutors, probation officers and lawyers. The expertise of the Dutch, other European and regional institutions will be used during short-term missions to guide, coach and train their Serbian peers.
During the visit to Serbia from 11 to 15 December, the Dutch Prosecutors’ Service was represented as well. On Serbian side, the following actors have been involved in the needs assessment: the Supreme Court of Cassation, the Ombudsman, the Prosecutors Association, the Judges Association, the Judicial Academy, the Ministry of Justice, a probation office and several courts.
NHC and CILC are looking forward to start with the actual implementation of the first activities in 2018!