Support to freedom of expression in Serbia: Grant Agreement signed with Judicial Academy

Author: Support to freedom of expression in Serbia: Grant Agreement signed with Judicial Academy
Location: Belgrade
Source: https://www.coe.int/en/web/freedom-expression/-/support-to-freedom-of-expression-in-serbia-grant-agreement-signed-with-judicial-academy

On 23 April 2020, in Belgrade – the Grant Agreement was signed between the Joint Programme of the European Union and the Council of Europe „Freedom of Expression and the Media in Serbia (JUFREX)“ and the Judicial Academy of the Republic of Serbia (the PARS). Through joint activities, from May 2020 to December 2021, judges and prosecutors will be provided in-depth training courses on freedom of expression, particularly on the protection of journalists, which will ensure harmonization of the judicial practice of the national courts with the European standards in this area.

Also, the capacities of the Judicial Academy for the provision of high-quality education to judges and prosecutors on freedom of expression will be additionally reinforced: the database of certified trainers will be extended, and the updated training materials prepared and integrated into the curricula of the future training courses.

JUFREX - Izvor: Pravosudna akademija
JUFREX - Source: Judicial Academy

This grant constitutes the continuation of the successful cooperation between the Judicial Academy and the Council of Europe during the JUFREX Phase 1, implemented from 2016 to 2019. Through our joint Programme we have achieved outstanding results: 186 judges and 66 prosecutors completed the general JUFREX training on freedom of expression, and the national certified lecturers now use the training materials prepared within the Programme, even outside the JUFREX activities.

In addition, the improvement has also been noticed in the judicial practice – a series of judgments have been handed down by the national courts on issues of freedom of expression, which contain reference to the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights and they are adopting the method of its rationales.

JUFREX 1 has achieved outstanding results on regional level as well – the events for legal professionals provided in-depth training courses for national trainers on freedom of expression, facilitated the networking, sharing of experiences and best practices between the participants, providing at the same time updated information on new trends related to freedom of expression and the jurisprudences of the European Court of Human Rights.

With this new Programme phase we are proceeding with our work and cooperation. The Programme activities will build the capacities of judges and prosecutors to protect and guarantee freedom of expression with the respect for the rights of others, and will contribute to the creation of an environment that will enable full exercising of the media freedom and ensure proper implementation of the legal framework in the area of freedom of expression.

The regional component of the Programme will enable continuation of the regular cooperation and communication between the beneficiaries in the region – towards the promotion of best practices and development of the judicial practice related to freedom of expression.

This Programme is a part of the „Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey 2019-2022“, the joint initiative of the European Union and the Council of Europe which provides support to the Programme beneficiaries in the implementation of the reform agendas in the areas of human rights, rule of law, and democracy, and supports them in the harmonization with the European standards and the acquis communautaire of the European Union within the enlargement process, where appropriate.