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Judges’ Association of Serbia on reactions of politicians and the media

17. 10. 02

On the occasion of the recent unlawful reactions made by politicians and the media regarding certain decisions of the courts, the Judges Association of Serbia has addressed High Judicial Council to, in accordance with its constitutional duty, duly react on instances of endangering judges’ independence.

This address, inter alia, emphasized that the recent decisions of the Court of Appeal in Belgrade, which partly confirmed and partly revoked criminal verdicts of the High Court in Belgrade instructing it to conduct a procedure with no procedural deficiencies and according to the law, have initiated an avalanche of slurs, insults and threats to judges made by certain politicians and the media, thus even announcing arrests of judges, as well as taking certain measures in the upcoming reform of the judiciary against these, allegedly unacceptable, actions of courts.

Also, it emphasized that this campaign is happening at the same time as the so-called consultations of the Ministry of Justice with professional associations and civil society in which certain participants, and contrary to the compliant proposals of the professional associations of judges and public prosecutors and overall civil society, propose amendments to the Constitution regarding the judiciary which could violate the legal order of the Republic of Serbia and fulfillment of the rights of citizens to a fair trial before an independent and impartial court.

The address also states that the Judges’ Association of Serbia has always advocated, as it does now, that everyone, primarily judges and courts, has to respect legal order of our State, so it appeals to the authorities and officials to lawfully, consistently and conscientiously fulfill their duties, led by a fact that everyone is equal before the law, that there must never be anyone intangible and that every person is innocent until their responsibility is proven.

Moreover, the Judges’ Association of Serbia has stated with concern that these actions of the state officials and the media, repeated after every single judicial decision not in line with the outcome previously announced in the media, represent blatant unlawful indication to judges how to adjudicate. This not only regarding the cases in question, but also all other ones the public is interested in and which the politics and the media have provided with “their own judgment” in advance, before and during trials. Furthermore, it sparks the state of incredulity of citizens in judges on one hand, as well as judges’ feeling of being less certain and more intimidated on the other, to adjudicate in a professional, impartial and conscientious manner.

For this reason, the Judges’ Association of Serbia has called upon a reaction of High Judicial Council on the matter of endangering the independence of judges, in accordance with its constitutional duties.