Information News

J. Joksimović: Vote “Yes” on referendum for stronger judiciary

January 14 2022 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: Vote “Yes” on referendum for stronger judiciary

Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has stated today that, by voting “Yes” on the upcoming referendum on the amendment to the Constitution, the citizens will enable the strengthening of the judiciary through a higher level of independence and separation from the legislative and executive branches of government, which will narrow the room for inappropriate political interference and influence.

“The proposed amendments to the Constitution defined through a public, inclusive and broad debate, primarily among experts but also the rest of the interested public, will bring a structural change in terms of improved democratic institutions and, above all, stronger independence of the judicial branch and independent prosecution”, stated Joksimović in her written statement to Tanjug.

She has recalled that the amendments have been further strengthened by the positive opinion of the Venice Commission, as a reference body of the Council of Europe, whose opinions are recognised by all European states and beyond.

“By voting ‘Yes’, the citizens will enable the strengthening of the judiciary through a higher level of independence and separation from the legislative and executive branch of government, which will narrow the room for inappropriate political interference and influence. In this way, Serbia and its citizens are sending a clear message that we as a society and as a country are ready to respect and spread the fundamental rights and freedoms of everyone, as the best path to regaining citizens’ trust in institutions, particularly in the judicial branch of government”, stated Joksimović.

The Minister has conveyed that the goal of the reforms it to ensure the conditions and framework for personal security, equal treatment and fair and efficient protection before the judiciary, which is the basis for the prosperity of every individual and society.

In addition, she has stressed that independent judiciary guarantees the protection of human rights, reduction of injustice, corruption and unequal treatment, as well as economic growth and security in general, because an improved rule of law enables a higher level of legal certainty.

According to her, that is the exact reason why the government initiated the process, so as to achieve what the citizens have wanted for decades, and that is a more independent judiciary, improved access to justice and fairness, and an efficient fight against corruption.

Joksimović has added that, in all public opinion polls conducted in the last decade, the citizens, responding to the question of what they expect from the European integration process, have emphasised that they want independent judiciary, better access to justice and fairness in society, and successful fight against corruption, in addition to a higher living standard.

“With this act, we will finally correct the serious and expensive consequences of the previous, totally obstructive and unsuccessful judicial reform of 2009, when those who are now calling for the refusal of the amendments were the ones that established a highly politicised system, where there was a lot of room for political influence over judicial appointments. This significantly weakened the structure for the fight against corruption and organised crime, as well as for equal treatment of Serbian citizens by judicial authorities”, noted Joksimović.

The Minister has further stated that this reforms process is one of the most important steps in Serbia’s process of accession to the EU, within Cluster 1 – Fundamentals and the Action Plan for Chapter 23 Judiciary and fundamental rights, since it is one of the key activities in terms of meeting the interim benchmarks under the new methodology, which envisages stronger progress in the rule of law, so as to maintain and even accelerate the pace of negotiations on other clusters.

“Even if we take into account the fact that not all citizens support Serbia’s EU membership, these amendments are important primarily for our society, state and citizens, because if we vote ‘Yes’, we will personally contribute to bringing Serbia neck and neck with the country that have the most democratic framework for the unobstructed work of the judiciary and independent prosecution. I believe that all of us, as a society and as citizens, as well as the holders of judicial offices in our country, are mature and deserving of this important systemic change, for the benefit of every Serbian citizen”, concluded Joksimović.

Source: Tanjug