BELGRADE – Judges and prosecutors increasingly pressured by tabloids and politicians

The manner in which the executive branch has been exerting pressure on independent work of the judiciary is no longer classical, said Lidija Komlen Nikolić, the president of the Association of Public Prosecutors and Deputy Public Prosecutors of Serbia.

The pressure through formal acts like “calls by politicians threatening to call your boss,” has not been applied for a long time, she added.

According to Komlen Nikolić, who spoke to Belgrade daily Danas yesterday, the attempts to influence the work of judicial bodies had been increasingly performed through media outlets and tabloids and also public statements by politicians that prosecutors and deputy prosecutors are expected to act in a particular manner.

“The legal framework is very specific, and the most wrestling is about constitutional amendments, through which the executive branch has been trying at all costs and in a perfidious manner to introduce control, through members and the method of their appointment to judicial councils, the High Judicial Council and other high institutions which should ensure the independence and organisation of the judiciary,” she said.

Additionally, according to her, the abuse of the COVID-19 pandemic to keep acting heads of many institutions has been hindering their work. Extending a state of emergency in regular circumstances also represents an attempt to keep the judiciary “under control”, she added.

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