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Strengthening the Probation and the System of Alternative Sanctions in Montenegro and Serbia

Serbia and Montenegro are both candidates for accession to the EU. One of the conditions to become an EU Member State (as defined by the Copenhagen criteria) is that a country can demonstrate that it complies with all the EU’s standards and rules, including rules related to prison and probation.

In order to develop probation systems in these two countries, the NHC and its partners contribute to this project in order to further strengthen the capacities of the relevant actors within the judicial chain which work on probation and alternative sanctions. The work of the project partners is inspired by the European Probation Rules, which stipulate that effective probation work consists of activities such as risk assessment of offenders, advice to prosecutors and judges, supervision, guidance and control of offenders in the community, and implementation of alternative sanctions, including community service sentences.

Our Aim

The expertise from the Netherlands, and possibly from other EU Member States, will be used during short-term missions to guide, coach and train their Serbian and Montenegrin peers, including those working with local civil society organisations (CSOs).

Regular meetings and seminars between probation officers, the Ministry of Justice, judges and prosecutors will be held, since this coordinated approach (chain approach) contributes to enhancing the comprehension of the work and motivation of the various actors involved.

In addition, advocacy and media strategies will be further developed and implemented, as positively influencing public opinion in order to increase societal support for probation and alternative sanctions will enhance a climate in which probation can be effective.

In Montenegro, this project builds on a previously executed project by the NHC: Support to the probation service and the system of alternative sanctions in Montenegro.

Project Implementation

Funder: Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Matra CoPROL)

Partners in the Netherlands: Center for International Legal Cooperation (CILC); the Dutch Prosecution Service; the Dutch Probation Service; the Council for the Judiciary
Partners in Montenegro: Civic Alliance (CA); NVO Juventas; the Ministry of Justice in Montenegro; Judicial Training Center in Montenegro.
Partners in Serbia: Belgrade Center for Human Rights (BCHR); Neostart; The Ministry of Justice in Serbia; Judicial Academy in Serbia;

Project period: September 1, 2017 – December 31, 2020 (Extended to December 2022)

Budget: € 1.547.376