In the new prEUgovor policy paper ASTRA – Anti-Trafficking Action provides a review of aspects of importance for the rights of victims of human trafficking in the context of the case-law of the Constitutional Court of Serbia.

Improving the position of victims of human trafficking procedure

The decision of the Constitutional Court of Serbia (CCS) in March 2021 regarding the constitutional complaint of a victim of human trafficking, represents significant progress in the judicial practice of the Republic of Serbia.

With this decision, the Constitutional Court found a violation of the rights and freedoms of victims of trafficking guaranteed by the RS Constitution: violation of the prohibition of trafficking in human beings under Article 26 paragraph 2 of the Constitution and the right to a trial within a reasonable time in the same procedure, under Article 32 of the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia.

The constitutional decision determines and explains the omissions in the fulfilment of procedural obligations and sets significant standards of conduct and obligations of the prosecutor's office and the court in criminal proceedings.

The State must further engage in order to respect the principle of the special needs of victims of human trafficking and the right of victims of human trafficking to assistance, security and protection. Although the normative framework is largely in line with internationally ratified documents, there is an obvious need to improve support for victims of human trafficking.

More consistent application of legal provisions in order to protect the rights of victims of human trafficking would bring the improvement of the right to compensation, the right of victims to privacy, information, representation and security in criminal proceedings. We hope that this constitutional decision will be the basis for the improvement of future proceedings that have as their subject the criminal offence of trafficking in human beings.

The production of this publication was made possible by the Balkan Fund for Democracy, the program of the German Marshall Fund of the USA and the Embassy of the Kingdom of Norway in Belgrade within the project "PrEUgovor for the Rule of Law and EU Integration".