Introductory Remarks of Prosecutor General

The position and role of the Public Prosecution are primarily determined by the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia. According to the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, the Public Prosecution is unique and autonomous state body that prosecutes perpetrators of criminal and other punishable acts and performs other competences that protect the public interest determined by law. The General Public Prosecution is the highest public prosecution in the Republic of Serbia, which is headed by the Prosecutor General. The Prosecutor General is responsible for the work of the public prosecution and for his work to the National Assembly. The Prosecutor General is not responsible for proceedings in an individual case. Chief public prosecutors are responsible for the work of the public prosecution and their work to the General Prosecutor and to the immediately higher chief public prosecutor, and public prosecutors are responsible for their work to the chief public prosecutor.

Such constitutional guarantees of the autonomy of the Public Prosecution and the powers of the General Public Prosecution and the Prosecutor General represent the expression of the need to enable the professional, legal and autonomous performance of the extremely complex and responsible function of the Public Prosecution, which is criminal prosecution, i.e. the fight against crime, as well as undertaking pf other measures that protect the public interest determined by law.

We are witnesses of the challenges that modern society faces, both through classic forms of organized crime and corruption, as well as in the form of new sophisticated types of economic crime, money laundering, high-tech crime, human trafficking and human smuggling, the scale of which often exceeds the borders of a single country. Determined criminal prosecution, based on the law and evidence, close cooperation and coordination with the police and other state authorities, as well as direct and efficient cooperation with foreign prosecutors' offices and other relevant institutions of other countries, are preconditions for a successful fight against all forms of serious crime, especially cross-border crime.

These challenges caused the need to modernize the organization and work of the Public Prosecution. From 1.1.2010. a new prosecutorial network was established, which introduced appellate public prosecutions into the legal system, so today the Public Prosecution system consists of the General Public Prosecution, Appellate Public Prosecutions (Belgrade, Novi Sad, Niš and Kragujevac), Higher Public Prosecutions, Basic Public Prosecutions and Prosecution Offices of special jurisdiction. Basic Public Prosecutions prosecute perpetrators of crimes punishable by up to 10 years in prison, Higher Public Prosecutions prosecute perpetrators of crimes punishable by imprisonment for more than 10 years as other criminal offenses provided for by law, Appellate Public Prosecutions act on appeals, and the General Public Prosecution acts in extraordinary legal remedies and directs and follows the work of all public prosecution offices. There are also public prosecution offices of special jurisdiction, the Public Prosecution Office for Organized Crime and the Public Prosecution Office for War Crimes, which were established for the territory of the Republic of Serbia and act both in the first instance and on appeal, and at the Higher Public Prosecution in Belgrade there is also a Department for High - technological crime, which also acts on the entire territory of the Republic of Serbia in cases under its jurisdiction.

Within this organization, in accordance with international standards and recommendations, internal specialization was carried out for certain complex types of criminal offenses, the prosecution of which requires special knowledge and skills, in order to enable more efficient and professional prosecution of these offenses by public prosecutors who are specially trained for that matter. In this sense, in 2008, the Department for the fight against corruption was established in the Republic Public Prosecution Office, and in 2018, Special Departments for the Suppression of Corruption were established at the Higher Public Prosecutions in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Niš and Kraljevo, which are responsible for corruptive criminal acts, economic crime and money laundering, committed in the territory of its appellate area. Also, in 2012, contact points for cases of human trafficking were designated in higher public prosecutions, which handle and coordinate work in this area, while in 2016, contact points for international legal assistance were designated in higher public prosecutions. Contact points also exist for other crimes, such as domestic violence and crimes against the safety of journalists.

Finally, as a prerequisite for successful criminal prosecution at a time when organized crime and other forms of serious crime know no borders, the General Public Prosecution intensified international cooperation. Direct cooperation takes place on the basis of the Memoranda of Understanding and Cooperation, through prosecutorial networks and direct contacts with competent foreign authorities. The General Public Prosecution has signed 30 Memorandums of Understanding and Cooperation and actively cooperates with the judicial authorities of other countries, both bilaterally and through the judicial networks of the European Union, such as the Eurojust (EU Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation) - in which the Serbian Liaison Prosecutor’s Office was opened in 2020 and the EJN (European Judicial Network), then the Council of Europe, such as the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors and the T-CY Committee of the Bureau of the Convention on High-Tech Crime, as well as through regional prosecutorial networks, such as SEEPAG. Likewise, since 2016, the General Public Prosecution of the Republic of Serbia participates in the work of the Network of General Prosecutors who act before the Supreme Courts of the European Union member states (Nadal Network) and attends its annual meetings.

Prosecution of all forms of crime, especially organized crime, corruption, economic crime, trafficking in drugs, arms and persons, high-tech crime and other serious forms of crime is a responsible and demanding job. I, as the Prosecutor General, as well as the chief public prosecutors and public prosecutors throughout Serbia, are absolutely committed to professional, legal and determined criminal prosecution. In the execution of this responsible task we put all of our professional, expert and personal capacity and integrity. The results of the work, presented on the following pages, speak of our work and commitment. We are glad that this effort and commitment have been recognized by our partners, such as Eurojust, as the Republic of Serbia is at the very top of the non-EU countries in terms of the number of cases with Eurojust.

We are determined, in spite of all challenges, to continue the uncompromising fight against crime, within the legal powers, in order to preserve the fundamental values of our country - the rule of law and ensure the safety and rights of our citizens, as well as with the aim of exercising international standards and the accession of the Republic of Serbia to the European Union. Many challenges lie ahead, but we are determined to continue to suppress the organized crime, corruption and other serious crimes in a lawful, evidence-based and impartial manner, regardless of the position or power of the suspects. We expect your support along this way.

Prosecutor General
Zagorka Dolovac

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