This article is an integral part of the Coalition prEUgovor report on progress of Serbia in Chapters 23 and 24 for the period from May 2015 to October 2015.

The Rights of Victims - November 2015

Autonomous Women’s Centre filed a Constitutional Appeal in the case of a criminal offence of marital rape[1] because the suspect was exonerated by the final decision of the Court of Appeals in Belgrade. The Appeal pointed out the discriminatory attitude of a Court of First Instance Judge to a female victim of domestic violence, as well as the discriminatory practice of the Court of Appeals in Belgrade which did not notify the injured party of the day when the public hearing before the appeals chamber would be held in the situation when the injured party required so. This case demonstrates how far criminal legislation is from the standards envisaged by  the Directive 2012/29/EU on establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime. There is still neither any form of civil service help for victims of crime, nor indemnification. Serbia still fails to meet the requirements envisaged by Council of Europe Convention, as nothing is done to set up a national SOS telephone number for women victims of violence, and Crisis Centres for those who suffered sexual violence. There are still no support services for victims, neither are the victims given the status of particularly vulnerable witnesses for reasons of protection. Prosecutor offices, by applying the institute of delayed criminal prosecution more often in cases of the criminal offence of domestic violence, and by making the suspects pay a sum of money to charity, return fines for this criminal offence, whereby the victim is put in greater danger of repeated violence by the fact that the victim suffers the consequences of paying this sum of money. The status of particularly vulnerable witness is not given to victims of human trafficking either, forced to take part as witnesses in years long criminal proceedings against human traffickers under the threat of being brought in by force unless they answer to court summons to give evidence.

[1] File number Už. 5510/2014.