MINELRES: Fwd: Serbia and Montenegro: OSCE Mission promotes use of minority languages in court

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Sat Nov 5 16:08:41 2005


Original sender: Balkan Human Rights List <office@greekhelsinki.gr>


Press release

OSCE Mission promotes use of minority languages in court proceedings in
Serbia
http://www.osce.org/item/16777.html

SENTA, Serbia and Montenegro, 31 October 2005 - The OSCE Mission to
Serbia and Montenegro organized on 28 and 29 October a study visit and
workshop in the Senta Municipal Court for 19 representatives of the
courts and public prosecutors offices from southern Serbia, a region
where the majority of the population is ethnic Albanian.

The visit is designed to improve the service of the judiciary to
national minorities. In several courts throughout the northern Serbian
province of Vojvodina, court proceedings are conducted in Hungarian, the
language of the predominant national minority of the region. This serves
as a model for other regions in the country.

"Conducting court proceedings in the language of a national minority is
an important step for Serbia in its effort to build bridges to those
communities," said Stephen Kelley, the Legal Advisor on Judicial Reform
of the OSCE Mission to Serbia and Montenegro.

"This training course provides the judges and prosecutors responsible
for meeting European standards and the legal requirements of Serbian law
with the technical knowledge necessary for its implementation."

Although the Serbian legal framework provides for the conduct of court
proceedings in the language of a national minority, in those
municipalities where large ethnic minority communities exist, the
challenge has been to provide the necessary guidelines, infrastructure,
and qualified staff to conduct all aspects of the court proceedings in
other languages.

The judges and prosecutors from southern Serbia spent two days in the
municipality of Senta to observe their Hungarian-speaking colleagues
conducting criminal and civil court proceedings. This provided the
background for discussions during which the technical and legal
requirements, human rights issues and human resource needs were
outlined.

Representatives from the Supreme Court of Serbia, the Co-ordination Body
for South Serbia, the Justice Ministry, and other members of the
judiciary also participated in the workshop.

The project forms part of the ongoing efforts of the Mission to support
the efforts of the Co-ordination Body to implement the 2001 peace
agreement, aimed at re-integrating the ethnic Albanian community into
state institutions.

"Conducting court proceedings in the language of a national minority is
an important step for Serbia in its effort to build bridges to those
communities"Stephen Kelley, the Legal Advisor on Judicial Reform of the
OSCE Mission to Serbia and Montenegro


Contacts

Mathias Eick
Spokesperson

Cakorska 1
11000 Belgrade
Serbia and Montenegro
Tel: +381 63 337 461 (mobile)
+381 11 3606 150
Fax: +381 11 3606 116
mathias.eick@osce.org
omisam-spokesperson@osce.org


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