On 23-25 September, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers adopted another decision addressing the government of the Republic of Serbia within its framework of oversight of the execution of judgments made by the European Court of Human Rights. The decision concerns a long-overdue implementation of the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights regarding the case Zorica Jovanović v. Serbia, passed in 2013. In its 2013 judgement, the Court concluded that Ms Jovanović had suffered a continuing violation of the right to respect for her family life due to Serbia’s continuing failure to provide her with credible information as to what has happened to her son.
You can read more about the case of Jovanović v. Serbia by accessing ASTRA’s website.
In the continuation of this text, you can read in entirety the decision of the Committee of Ministers addressed at the government of the Republic of Serbia.
1355th meeting, 23-25 September 2019 (DH)
H46-23 Zorica Jovanović v. Serbia (Application No. 21794/08)
Supervision of the execution of the European Court’s judgments
- recalled that this case concerns the respondent State’s continuing failure to provide credible information as to the fate of babies reported as missing from maternity wards, mainly in the period from the 1970s to the 1990s;
- also recalled that, following the judgment of the European Court, the Serbian authorities prepared a draft law to introduce a mechanism aimed at providing credible answers about the fate of “missing babies” and individual redress to their parents;
- noted that the draft law has been revised to take into account the decisions of the Committee of Ministers in this case, but remained gravely concerned that it has still not been adopted and remains pending before Parliament;
- noted the amendments recently made to the draft law concerning the use of DNA testing in the fact-finding procedure; considered that these amendments have the potential to increase the efficiency of the procedure and lead to credible answers regarding the fate of “missing babies” for the parents;
- while noting that consultations on this point are currently underway at domestic level, reiterated their call to the authorities to put in place an efficient procedure for international fact-finding, including a DNA database available to parents and “missing babies” residing abroad to complement the domestic DNA database; also called on the authorities to take other preparatory measures, such as training the judiciary and other relevant stakeholders on relevant Convention standards, and to continue to engage closely with the Secretariat;
- in view of the fact that the deadline set by the Court for taking measures in the present case, which is of a compelling humanitarian nature, expired five years ago, reiterated with insistence their call on the Serbian authorities to ensure, as a matter of the utmost priority, the adoption of the draft law;
- noted the indication from the authorities that the draft law will be adopted in good time before the Committee’s next DH meeting; decided to resume consideration of this item at their 1362nd meeting (December 2019) (DH); instructed the Secretariat, in the eventuality that the draft law has not been adopted by then, to have ready a draft interim resolution.