Statistics are grim for the victims of domestic violence in Serbia. In 2013, 76 people died in cases of domestic violence—45 of those were women and five were children. Since the beginning of 2014, 11 women have been killed and as many as 1,883 have contacted the helpline of the Counseling Against Family Violence, a civil society organization that provides support for victims.
Through the joint efforts of USAID’s Judicial Reform and Government Accountability (JRGA) project and the Ministry of Justice, the court underwent a complete renovation in the summer of 2012 and was transformed into a modern, clean space with ample courtrooms and judges’ chambers to accommodate both judges and court users. Now the public and administrative functions of the court are clearly separated, and signs—in all four languages in official use in Zrenjanin—direct people where they need to go, leaving room for staff to carry out their administrative tasks more smoothly.
The large number of old pending cases is a major challenge facing Serbia’s courts. Faster court proceedings and improved efficiency of the judicial system depend on several factors, most importantly, good case management and communication.
Troubled by the lack of opportunity for women to participate in sports activities and concerned about potential health risks to young women not engaged in athletics, the Gender Equality Commission in Topola, Serbia, recently sprang into action. Gender Equality Commissions (GECs) are formal government bodies tasked with ensuring that women’s rights are protected. They educate local officials about the need for gender-sensitive policymaking in order to implement important elements of the National Strategy on Gender Equality, which was adopted in February 2009.
Serbian courts and the High Court Council, in their previous forms, never negotiated their own budgets and financial requirements directly with the Ministry of Finance. Instead, their negotiations were conducted by the Ministry of Justice, leading to financial dependence on the executive branch.
Last updated: January 28, 2016