SERBIA

BACKGROUND     

The Judicial Reform & Government Accountability Project (JRGA) is a five year ($21million) project awarded by USAID to the National Center for State Courts, Development Professionals Inc (DPI) and Management Systems International (MSI) partnered with NCSC in Serbia and is currently implementing the project.  

 

Judicial Reform

The Project assists the Republic of Serbia in improving the efficiency and transparency of the administration of justice, increasing court responsiveness to the needs of justice system users, and in increasing public awareness of the roles and responsibilities of courts. Through direct project assistance to the Administrative Court, Higher Misdemeanor Court, and 45 Misdemeanor Courts, JRGA works to promote open, efficient, and responsive court operation, and to strengthen leadership and management functions.

 

Government Accountability

The Project assists the Republic of Serbia in strengthening the capacity of independent agencies and civil society organizations to promote open, accountable, and efficient government, fight corruption and poor administrative practices, and generate public demand for and participation in good governance. The Project supports the Anti-Corruption Agency, Ombudsperson, State Audit Institution, and Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection. Among other things, the Project provides technical assistance to the Anti-Corruption Agency to perform its role in overseeing conflicts of interest, income and asset disclosure, and election and political party finance.

 

General Principles

The design and delivery of JRGA activities promote local ownership to ensure sustainable impact of project investments. JRGA also promotes gender equity and broad civil society involvement. Project activities mainstream gender equity concerns. The Project’s Grants Program funds civil society initiatives to support and advocate for improvements in the rule of law, encourage a culture of respect for rule of law, and promote good governance, government integrity, and anti-corruption measures.

USAID’s JRGA Project is a five-year, 21.8 million USD initiative implemented by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) with support from Management Systems International and Development Professionals, Inc.

 

DPI is responsible for implementing Component 1 of the Judicial Reform and Government Accountability Project by providing supervision and guidance to a staff of local nationals who will assist with the implementation of specific tasks. 

Main responsibilities and tasks will be to assist the GoS to make the administration of justice more efficient, transparent and responsive to the needs of their users, and to increase public awareness about the improvements. DPI is coordinating assistance, developing uniform best practices for expansion into multiple courts, and promoting the policy making changes necessary to improve operations of the Courts.

 

DPI is currently initiating a Model Courts Program for both the Administrative Court and the Misdemeanor courts that will strengthen court leadership and management, train judges and court staff to become better managers and implement key reforms in their courts. In turn, this will have two distinct impacts: (1) operational improvements in the model courts and (2) identification of best practices that serve as clear standards and can be implemented system-wide.

DPI’s assistance is providing the Model Courts in Serbia with technical assistance to:

  • Administrative Courts – open hearings, reductions of case backlog, quality court information services for court users;
  • High/Misdemeanor Courts – open hearings, reductions of case backlog, increased collections of court costs/fines, increased safety for victims of family/domestic violence, better coordination of cases/issues involving family violence, increased competency of judges (and court staff), and improved reputation among court-users/public (outreach)

Serbia became a candidate for EU accession in 2011 and is engaging in far-reaching reform and modernization efforts to achieve future European integration. The Project team continues to offer technical assistance, training and material assistance to enable counterparts to achieve European standards in the administration of justice and government transparency

 

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