23/12/2013 Discussion on Draft Strategy of Judiciary Reform 2013-2018

19/12/2013 HRA submitted an open letter to organizers of “Word, Image, Enemy” Conference
24/12/2013 New Year’s presents for children of six vulnerable families living in „Zvjerinjak“, Nikšić

23/12/2013 Discussion on Draft Strategy of Judiciary Reform 2013-2018

Human Rights Action representative, Gordana Planinić, participated on 23 December in the discussion on the Draft Strategy of Judiciary Reform 2013-2018.

She emphasized that the work on the Strategy should have been preceded by an appropriate analysis of the level of implementation of the previous strategy and measures of the Action Plan – the Introduction part of the Draft Strategy (within the analysis of application of the previous strategy) only listed what has been achieved, but did not provide a comparative analysis in relation to previously set aims and measures, and also did not specify what has not been done, what previously planned measures were not applied, in what scope and percentage.

The introduction of practice of developing fundamental analysis of the application of previous strategies and action plans before creating new ones, is necessary for objective and accurate overview of the application of previous plans, and answering questions why all measures and aims were not achieved and what should be done to prevent this from happening again. HRA proposed that, in addition to the Association of Judges and Association of Prosecutors, the only NGOs whose representatives were part of the Commission monitoring the application of the previous Strategy and Action Plan, other NGOs, particularly watch-dog organizations experienced in areas covered by the Strategy should now be allowed to also be members of this body .

Although the Draft Strategy generally covers the majority of what was planned in relation to three key areas, strengthening the independence, impartiality and accountability of the judiciary, our main remark concerns the lack of a precise identification of deficiencies in the existing system and thus the lack of comprehensive and precise guidelines, but we hope that these deficiencies be remedied by the adoption of the final Strategy, as well as by specifying the measures in the Action Plan for its implementation.

For example, we proposed to clearly emphasize that from the beginning of the Judicial Council operation in 2008 to present day, the main problem in the appointment and promotion of judges has been the lack of indicators (parameters) for evaluation of almost all existing criteria for appointment and promotion of judges, which did not ensure objectivity and uniformity of evaluation of the criteria for appointment, and promotion of judges.Although this deficiency should have been clear to members of the Judicial Council as soon as the appointment of judges started, as HRA pointed out in 2009, and although the Action Plan of the Judicial Council stipulated that the parameters will be adopted by the end of 2010, so far this has not happened, three years later, and that problem has not been clearly stated in the Draft Strategy.