The Serbian judiciary consists of a Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, 30 district courts and 138 municipal courts. There are also special courts such as administrative courts and commercial courts. The Belgrade District Court has a special chamber for the prosecution of war crimes, as well as a public prosecutor’s office for war crimes – both are responsible for the legal processing of war crimes from the Balkan wars of the 1990’s. Its establishment is part of the process of closing the UN war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (The Hague) and transferring its tasks to the national judiciary in the successor states of the former Yugoslavia.
According to dentistrymyth, Serbia had a relatively strong legal tradition for socialist states. In socialist Yugoslavia – except in the political areas – large parts of the judicial system functioned almost like in the western constitutional state until well into the 1980’s. Under the Milošević regime, there was a strong politicization and change in the personnel structure in the judiciary, and as a result a dramatic de-professionalization. At the same time, corruption spread systematically in all areas of government and society – not excluding the judiciary. In the years 2009-2010, the Serbian government undertook a fundamental judicial reform under the influence of the EU integration process. Courts and public prosecutor’s offices were fundamentally restructured territorially and functionally according to objective criteria and thus rationalized. At the same time, a process of reappointing all judges and public prosecutors took place, which was intended to systematically cleanse the judiciary of unqualified lawyers who had been discredited by their actions in the 1990’s. However, the objectives of this procedure were thwarted by a lack of transparency and political influence. After massive domestic political criticism and from the EU Commission, a Partial revision takes place. After the Serbian Constitutional Court declared the dismissal of more than 900 judges and public prosecutors unconstitutional, all of them had to be reinstated in their offices. In its progress report for 2011, the EU Commission had confirmed that Serbia still had positive results from the judicial reform process, but at the same time called for further efforts. In the subsequent progress report from 2012, however, the Commission had to certify the failure of the appointment of all judges and prosecutors to Serbia. In doing so, she corrected her largely positive assessment of previous years and pointed out that central reform projects in the Serbian judicial system are still ahead.
Since 2013, judicial reform has been increasingly influenced by Serbia’s path towards accession negotiations. The new government adopted a new judicial reform strategy for 2013-18. In 2014 the screening process for the so-called rule of law chapters 23 and 24 took place. Negotiations on the action plan to be drawn up by the Serbian government, which represents the plan for the implementation of the extensive conditions set by the EU for structural reforms of the judiciary, dragged on until April 2016. The opening of the two chapters, which actually was planned at the beginning of the accession process, therefore only happened in July 2016.
In fact, during the reign of Aleksandar Vucic, the judicial situation did not improve, but rather deteriorated. Political influence on the judiciary has increased rather than decreased. The commentary on sensitive judicial proceedings by government officials has become everyday practice. An amendment to the constitution called for by the EU with the aim of abolishing the appointment of judges and prosecutors by parliament is still a long way off. The Serbian Ministry of Justice only presented the corresponding draft constitutional amendment in early 2018. The draft was criticized by representatives of judicial associations and civil society as inadequate with regard to the depoliticization of the judiciary.Withdrawal of the latter from the consultations.
In June 2018, the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe published a positive opinion on the draft constitutional amendment. In the meantime, the Serbian government has announced that the constitutional amendments will be postponed until after the parliamentary elections and the next government takes office in 2020.
The flag of Serbia shows the colors red, blue and white (Pan-Slavic colors) in a horizontal arrangement. The current version of the flag (with coat of arms and crown) was introduced on 08/17/2004. It goes back to the 19th century, the Kingdom of Serbia.
Coat of arms
The Serbian coat of arms in its current form dates from the 19th century. However, it has its roots in the early Middle Ages – the double-headed eagle goes back to the Byzantine Empire. The in the 8./9. The Serbian states of Zeta and Raschka (Raszien), founded in the 17th century, were fiefdoms of the Byzantine Empire, which were combined to form the Principality of Serbia in 1117. This gained independence in 1180. The Serbian heraldry with the double-headed eagle is reminiscent of the heraldry of the Byzantine Empire.