2022 European day for victims of crime was marked by results
Access to justice, in which the victim is placed at the centre of the criminal procedure, is a commitment accepted by Serbia, and in the last four years it has made significant progress. This was concluded at an expert panel organised on the occasion of the European Day for Victims of Crime, as part of the “Support for victims and witnesses of crime” project, funded by the European Union and implemented by the OSCE Mission to Serbia as the chosen partner of the Ministry of Justice.
The National Strategy for Improving the Position of Victims and Witnesses for the 2020-2025 Period, which is realised through an Action Plan, is successfully implemented, although achieving all the goals that have been set is a long-term process. This was concluded in a video address by the Minister of Justice Maja Popović, the Head of the European Union Delegation to Serbia Emmanuel Joffre and the Head of the OSCE Mission to Serbia Jan Braathu.
Popović reiterated that the National Strategy highlights three goals: to establish a national network of support services, improve protection and support for victims and witnesses of crime and actively raise awareness in the society about the rights of victims and witnesses. “Protection of victims is still not systematic enough, it is unbalanced and not accessible enough,” the minister pointed out and announced that in order to reach European standards in this area, the Ministry of Justice would propose a series of legal changes.
The role of society in the protection of victims was especially highlighted by the Head of the EU Delegation, stating that victims are still unfamiliar with their rights. The Head of the OSCE Mission mentioned that, last year, the organisation donated special equipment for five higher courts in Serbia, which will help victims and especially sensitive witnesses to testify via video link, which prevents secondary victimisation and contributes to better testimony and more efficient justice.
Darja Koturović, an expert on the IPA project “EU for Justice” to the Ministry of Justice, Bekir Dudić, Chief Coordinator in the Police Directorate, Tamara Mirović, Deputy Republic Public Prosecutor, and Olivera Đurić, Judge of the Belgrade High Court and Judge of the High Court in Novi Sad Ivana Josifović, spoke about the support for victims and concrete steps taken in practice.