November 2010
EWMI Continues to Encourage Case Backlog Reduction in Serbian Courts

In a continued effort to assist the judicial branch of Serbia in making its administration of justice more efficient, transparent, and responsive to the needs of its users, EWMI’s USAID-funded Separation of Powers Program (SPP) has encouraged individual courts to broaden efforts to reduce case backlogs by coordinating with entities outside of the court. One of the courts that has acted on the SPP recommendations has been the Basic Court in Vršac, one of the 10 courts participating in SPP’s case backlog prevention and reduction program. On November 30, 2010, the Basic Court in Vršac (with assistance from SPP), the Basic Prosecution in Vršac, the Police station, the Prison, the local Hospital, the Neuropsychiatric clinic, the Center for Social Care, and the Bar chamber agreed to sign both a common MOU to define general aspects of mutual cooperation among all the institutions, and an individual MOU to regulate specific rights and obligations between the court and a particular institution. Furthermore, the Vršac Basic Court announced the results to-date of its efforts to reduce criminal case backlogs. The judges have resolved 43% of their total 2010 old criminal cases and 51% of their 2010 old investigation cases. These results have been achieved with a smaller number of judges than in 2009, and the Court President expressed her hope that the improved relations with other agencies will lead to even better results in the future.