Serbian Parliament Speaker Ivica Dacic has called a referendum on amending the Serbian Constitution, to be held on Jan. 16, 2022.
Dacic signed the Decision to call a nationwide referendum on confirming the Act on Amending the Constitution following a session of Parliament. According to this Decision, the referendum will pose the following question to the citizens of Serbia: "Are you in favor of confirming the Act on Amending the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia?"
Justice Minister Maja Popovic stated on Nov. 30 that the proposed constitutional changes pertain to part of the justice system, and that their "goal is to increase [the Serbian people's] legal security because only an independent judiciary and an autonomous public prosecutor's department can guarantee the protection of rights in court proceedings."
To eliminate the role of politics in the election of judges and prosecutors, the minister explained, the amendments stipulate that judges be elected by a High Judicial Council, instead of by Parliament, as is the current practice. The Council will comprise six judges voted in by their colleagues, four eminent lawyers confirmed by a two-thirds majority in Parliament, and the president of the Supreme Court ex officio.
The changes also stipulate that prosecutors be elected by a High Prosecutorial Council comprising 11 members: five chosen by prosecutors, four proposed by a Parliamentary committee and confirmed by a two-thirds majority in Parliament, and the chief public prosecutor and minister of justice ex officio. The other proposed changes refer to the permanence of the office of judge, the strengthening of the office of prosecutor, and reverting the name of the country's highest court to the Supreme Court from the current Supreme Court of Cassation.