In order to monitor the measurable effects of the reforms in the European integration process of the Republic of Serbia, members of the prEUgovor coalition drafted the second edition of the Institutional Barometer, which analyzes the work of six selected institutions with the competences in the areas of Chapter 23 (Justice and Fundamental Rights) and Chapter 24 (Justice, Freedom and Security). Autonomous Women’s Center applied the created methodology to the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality.
This approach formulates the indicators that reflect dimensions of outcomes and processes, with special emphasis on implementation, as it has been identified as the main challenge and therefore the focus of monitoring by the European Union. The indicators reflect three dimensions of institutional functioning: internal efficiency; institutional embedment; institutional legitimacy.
The following are some of the data from the analysis on institutional efficiency of the Office of the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality:
Only 8-12% of the reviewed complaints result in the Commissioner's opinion and recommendation. A significantly higher percentage of cases (one-third to one-half) end up as dismissed complaints or suspended proceedings, which indicates that citizens do not identify and distinguish discrimination from other forms of injustice.
Public authorities do not recognize discrimination; they rarely address the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, which is not surprising as the largest number of discrimination complaints are filed against them.
For the first time since 2014, the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia has examined the Regular Annual Report of the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality (for 2018). The overall impression is that the Commissioner did not seem to have used the opportunity to address the discriminatory speech present in the questions and comments of the members of the Parliament, which would be very important for the public - given that RTS2 was broadcasting the Parliament session.
The responsiveness of the prosecutors’ offices and courts in prosecuting discrimination cases has not improved.
It still remains unclear how the Commissioner explains that a complaint cannot be acted upon if the proceedings before the court have already been instituted or finalized (Law on Prohibition of Discrimination, Article 36, paragraph 1), and the number of rejected complaints on this basis is twice higher in 2018 than in 2016.
The Commissioner does not monitor the implementation of the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination (although she has the authority to do so by the Law, Art. 33, item 7), and the judiciary in Serbia does not keep valid records of the proceedings.
There have also not been many changes to the gender aspects of discrimination – in 2018, women filed 58.5% of discrimination complaints. There is an increase in the number of complaints in the field of social protection (13.1%), filed by as many as 90.7% of women.
You can download the Institutional Barometer 2.0 here.