With the intent to contribute to the harmonization of the legal definition of rape as a criminal act (Criminal Code of the Republic of Serbia, Art 78) with the standards of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, as well as with the court proceedings of the European Court of Human Rights, Autonomous Women’s Centre initiated the expert meeting during which it was discussed about the positive obligations of the state.

Ksenija Turkovic, judge at the European Court of Human Rights, presented the positive obligations of the state when it comes to defining rape as a criminal act, before all in guaranteeing the sanction of any sexual act without the voluntary and freely given consent of another person, regardless of whether there was a physical resistance of the victim.

She paid special attention to the state's obligations in the application of legal solutions in the investigation of the crime and consideration of evidences, which must be thoroughly, efficiently and impartially implemented. She emphasized that all the circumstances of the crime must be carefully considered, the victim's experience and understanding of the circumstances must be taken into account (for example, the reasons for which she did not provide resistance in these circumstances), as well as specific characteristics and vulnerability of the victim. She highlighted the state's obligations in the prevention of sexual violence, as well as the rights of victims of these acts during all proceedings and after the conviction of the perpetrator (the right to compensation and rehabilitation).

AWC will continue to organize expert discussions in order to establish a solution that best protects the rights and interests of victims of rape and sexual violence.