Strengthening supervisory mechanisms and protection of the right to a healthy and preserved environment in the Republic of Serbia

Environmental pollution and destruction of natural resources is a serious problem with significant consequences for human health, ecosystems, the economy and the rule of law. There is no adequate response from the state in cases of environmental crime, and crimes against the environment go unpunished or companies and investors are sanctioned with milder penalties through commercial offences. Unsatisfactory application of adopted regulations and lagging behind in the transposition of very important directives (Directive on the protection of the environment through criminal law) make the legal framework incomplete and an open space for crime, corruption and irresponsibility of the competent authorities and polluters.

A particular problem that arises in the preservation and protection of the environment is the absence or insufficient reaction of the supervisory bodies – primarily the inspection for environmental protection. It is necessary that they use their powers proportionally, in relation to the danger, damage or endangerment of the right of individuals and local communities to a healthy and preserved environment. Administrative bodies, and often courts, do not recognize the active legitimacy of associations in court and administrative proceedings when they act as protectors of the general interest and public good. 

Through this project, RERI will continue to investigate cases of violations of environmental regulations, risks of corruption and endangerment of individuals and local communities, with the aim of improving environmental protection in criminal, court and administrative practice. The project will improve the online platform for reporting cases (http://platforma.reri.org.rs/) through which citizens and associations can effectively provide information on cases of environmental violations. The project will monitor the work of the Inspectorate for Environmental Protection and investigate and analyze the transposition and application of European regulations in this area.

Activities: 

  1. Monitoring and improving the work of the inspection for environmental protection
  2. Improving environmental protection in criminal, administrative and litigation court practice
  3. Improving the online platform for reporting environmental violations
  4. Providing support to individuals and associations of citizens in administrative and judicial proceedings in the field of environmental protection

Target groups:

  1. civil society organizations, informal groups and activists;
  2. experts, professional associations and organizations which deal with environmental protection;
  3. judges, prosecutors, their professional associations, legal experts, lawyers and employees of the judiciary;
  4. Ministry of Environmental Protection and bodies responsible for environmental protection at the provincial and local level;
  5. employees in public administration and judiciary.

The project is being implemented from June 1, 2021 to May 31, 2022, with the support of the Open Society Foundation.