Serbia, advice on proposed legislation, 2003

In 2003, the IBAHRI was asked by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and with the agreement of the Serbian Ministry of Justice, to review the Draft Law on Organisation and Jurisdiction of Government Authorities in Prosecuting Persons Guilty of War Crimes (the draft law).

In response to this request, the IBAHRI assembled a panel of international legal experts to review the legislation.The draft law is intended to give the Government of Serbia jurisdiction over the crimes listed in the legislation and lay out a procedure for their prosecution. It aims to remove any obstacles to the prosecution of those suspected of war crimes in the territory of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY).

The report welcomes the initiative of the Ministry of Justice and Serbian Government to have war crimes investigated and prosecuted by the domestic courts. This was seen as a positive step towards bringing to justice the alleged perpetrators of these serious crimes.

The report, Serbia: Analysis of the Republic of Serbia's Draft Law on the Prosecution of War Crimes (March 2003), suggests that the Ministry of Justice may wish to consider amendments to its draft law to help facilitate prosecutions and engender greater public and international confidence in the domestic implementation of international humanitarian law.