The joint European Union and Council of Europe action "Strengthening human rights protection in Serbia" supported the Constitutional Court in marking 60 years of its work. More than 100 participants, including representatives from constitutional courts across Europe, judge of the European Court of Human Rights, representatives of the Venice Commission and the Council of Europe, diplomatic corps in Serbia and national institutions, gathered for the event in Belgrade on 16 November.
The ceremonial part commenced with an opening address by the President of the Constitutional Court, Snežana Marković, who underscored that "with the adoption of the 2006 Constitution, the Republic of Serbia embraced the values of modern states founded on the respect for human and minority rights".
Zvezdana Lutovac, Vice President of the Supreme Court, Bojana Šćepanović, State Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Domnica Manole, member of the Venice Commission, and Vladimir Orlić, President of the National Assembly, also addressed the participants. Manole highlighted the significance of the principle of subsidiarity, which „places national judicial authorities at the heart of protecting the rights and freedoms of people under their jurisdiction, by the reason of their direct and continuous contact with the vital forces of their countries“, noting further that „although legal traditions differ within the Council of Europe, the Convention nurtures our dialogue”.
The subsequent international conference delved into the role of constitutional courts in implementing the European Convention on Human Rights and the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights at the national level. Representatives from various constitutional courts, together with the judge of the European Court of Human Rights, discussed different aspects of national implementation of European standards, providing insights into the specific contexts of their respective countries.
In line with the principle of subsidiarity, Serbian citizens’ rights are safeguarded primarily by the national judiciary, and the Constitutional Court plays a particularly significant role in the constitutional appeal proceedings. As noted by the President Marković, „the European Convention is often a cornerstone in understanding human rights guaranteed by the Constitution“. The action supported the organisation of the international conference as a part of its efforts to enforce implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights at the national level and to strengthen dialogue between the European Court of Human Rights and national institutions.
The action "Strengthening human rights protection in Serbia" is a part of the joint European Union and Council of Europe programme “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Türkiye“.