Each year, 75 million in people become victims of violence, rape and robbery. Every victim that receives support has a chance to continue their lives with as few consequences as possible, experts say, which is why the government needs to establish a victim support system. Serbia has prepared the Strategy for Protection of Victims and Witnesses of Crime, and it has also prepared a draft Action Plan for the first three year of the strategy’s implementation.
State Secretary of the Ministry of Justice Radomir Ilic underscores that this is only some of the data which illustrates how important the victim protection system is, and that protection of victims of crime was not defined only by the Chapter 23 Action Plan, but that it is primarily a responsibility of the state.
He notes that this is the reason why the Ministry of Justice set the creation of a Strategy for Rights of Victims and Witnesses of Crimes for the 2019-2025 period as one of its priorities, and that important support in this process is being provided by the OSCE Mission to Serbia and the EU Delegation to Serbia through the “Support for Victims and Witnesses of Crime in Serbia” project.
Ilic highlights that the Action Plan accompanying the Strategy contains three basic goals – formation of the national support network, improvement of rights of victims and witnesses of crimes, as well as active work on raising awareness about the rights of victims and witnesses.
Head of the OSCE Mission to Serbia Andrea Orizio says that promoting local management over the reform processes and their sustainability are the key principles on which the OSCE Mission to Serbia bases its work.
“The OSCE Mission is glad to be performing its advisory role in order to help the host country strengthen the efficiency of the mechanisms for protection of victims of crime. In order to reduce the risk of repeated and secondary victimization, as well as the fear from retribution and intimidation, the draft Action Plan prescribes specific activities which the relevant stakeholders need to undertake,” Orizio noted.
Representative of the EU Delegation to Serbia Leonetta Pajer and Deputy Republic Public Prosecutor Zorica Stojšić also spoke at the conference.
The creation of the Strategy for Rights of Victims and Witnesses of Crime, along with the accompanying Action Plan, is a part of the broader project of the Ministry of Justice titled “Support for Victims and Witnesses of Crime in Serbia” implemented in cooperation with the OSCE Mission to Serbia, and which is funded by the European Union.