In light of Serbia’s accession to the European Union (EU) and the harmonisation process presented in the Action Plans for the implementation of the EU accession Chapters 23 and 24, a comprehensive nation-wide system for supporting victims and witnesses of crime in Serbia is required to fulfil EU standards.
The OSCE Mission to Serbia (the OSCE) has been active in the Republic of Serbia in the area of victims’ rights for over five years: from the incorporation of the issue of victims’ rights into the 2013-2018 National Judicial Reform Strategy and its Action Plan, through support for the establishment of Victim and Witness Support Services in all Higher Courts and all Higher Public Prosecutions’ Offices. The OSCE has also supported the judicial and prosecutorial Working Groups in drafting General Instructions for the operationalisation of these Services. It has also provided related capacity building training for judges, prosecutors, support officers in court and at the public prosecution service, court guards and attendees of the Judicial Academy’s courses.
In February 2018, the OSCE started implementing the project entitled “Support for Victims and Witnesses of Crime in Serbia” which is funded by the European Union to the value of 1,500,000 EUR. The OSCE was selected as the Implementing Partner for this project by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Serbia. In the previous years, the OSCE also established co-operation with High Judicial Council, State Prosecutors’ Council, court and public prosecutions’ Witnesses and Victims Support Services and CSOs providing victim support.
Over the coming three years, the main objective of the project will be to support the establishment of a nationwide support service for victims and witnesses of crime, as part of the criminal justice system in the Republic of Serbia, including the institutionalisation of a network of Victim and Witness Support Services and the creation of an effective referral mechanism between such individual services.
The project will significantly focus on vulnerable groups subject to secondary victimisation, such as victims of gender-based violence, trafficking in human beings or juvenile victims.
One of the most important project activities will be the drafting process of the National Strategy for Victims’ Rights and the corresponding Action Plan which will be led by the relevant national authorities with technical expertise provided by the project.
The project also foresees providing support for the establishment and strengthening the National Co-ordination Body for the realisation of victims’ rights. This body will gather representatives of the most relevant state bodies in this field and will be led by the Ministry of Justice and it will establish co-operation mechanisms with other relevant ministries (such as the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veterans’ and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Health).
The project will also support the establishment of a victim-centred legal framework, through the amendment of the criminal legislation in Serbia.
In terms of capacity building, it will provide capacity building assistance to relevant institutions, in cooperation with the Judicial Academy, Police Training Centre, the Bar Academy and relevant civil society organisations.
It will also provide ICT solutions, such as a Case Management System for all institutions working with victims and witnesses of crime, the Call Centre for crime victims and the database containing comprehensive information on service providers.
The project will simultaneously work on awareness rising of the general public and legal professions in relation to the victim support service available in the Serbian criminal justice system. In addition to providing expert advice, expert opinion, research and analysis, the project will facilitate the organisation of various expert roundtables, seminars, workshops, conferences and translations.
ultimate aim of the project is to support the national authorities and others
organisations, to ensure that victims and witnesses of crimes in Serbia are
provided with the appropriate support, protection and safeguards as required to
fulfil EU standards.
- Rule of Law
- EuropeAid reference
- IPA 2 2014-2020 IPA 2016/decisionnumber.05/Serbia/Justice Sector
- Inception Phase, Strategic and Legislative Framework, Capacity Building, Information Technology, Awareness Raising
- City / District
- South-East Europe, Serbia
- EU Contribution
- 1,500,000 €
- Implementation period
- February 2018 - February 2021
- Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Ministry of Interior, Basic and Higher Courts, Basic and Higher Public Prosecutions Office, civil society organisations (CSOs), crime victims and witnesses participating in criminal procedure
- Implemented by
- OSCE Mission to Serbia