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Serbia

Monthly Event Reports

January 2024 | Secret service arrests and tortures opposition politician

Opposition politician Nikola Sandulović was taken by the Serbian Security Information Agency (BIA) on 3 January and was arrested on 4 January on suspicion of “inciting racial, national and religious hatred” after publishing a video in which he apologized for war crimes committed by Serbs in Kosovo. Sandulović claims that while in BIA custody, he was beaten and tortured by a group of men, including Milan Radoičić and three others who had been involved in the EU-labeled terrorist attack in Banjska, Kosovo in September. Radoičić has been taking refuge in Serbia despite an Interpol arrest warrant. Sandulović reportedly suffered severe injuries and was paralysed on one side of his body. Aleksandar Vulin, the US-sanctioned former intelligence chief of Serbia, confirmed that he ordered the detention but said that no violence was used. On 15 January, Þórhildur Sunna Ævarsdóttir, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe’s (PACE) rapporteur on political prisoners, called on Serbian authorities to carry out an independent investigation of the allegations. Shortly after, Sandulović was released.

December 2023 | Country holds early elections
Election flag

Following reports of electoral fraud in the 17 December elections, tens of thousands protested, opposition figures went on hunger strike, and student organizations staged blockades. Police violence and arrests ensued when supporters of the opposition, Serbia Against Violence, tried to break into Belgrade’s city hall by smashing windows. The opposition suspects the involvement of agents provocateurs in the incident. President Vučić and Russian authorities attributed the turmoil to foreign interference, while Prime Minister Ana Brnabić thanked the Russian secret service for information on the opposition. EU election observers reported organized voters from Republika Srpska (RS) and cases of intimidation. Authorities claim only citizens voted. Of the alleged 40,000 voters from RS, Brnabić says 20,360 crossed the border on voting day, with only about 15,000 voting. Germany deemed accusations of electoral misconduct for an EU candidate country unacceptable. MEPs along with 24 senior European foreign affairs politicians, called for an independent investigation. During a European Parliament plenary session, most speakers criticized the elections.

November 2023 | Rights organisations confirm use of advanced spyware against government’s critics

Research by Amnesty International and civil society organizations confirmed that two pro-democracy activists and critics of the government were subjected to spyware ahead of the December elections. There is no confirmation that this is a government-perpetrated attack. Test results also signalled that the attacks are coherent with the Israeli cyber-intelligence NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware. The confirmation comes following notifications two civil society representatives received from Apple, indicating they were probable targets of state-sponsored spyware.

October 2023 | Parliaments adopts two controversial media laws

The Serbian parliament has voted in favour of the Law on Public Information and Media, along with amendments to the Law on Electronic Media. Under the new legislation, the government gains the ability to own media outlets through Telekom Serbia, a telecommunications company partly owned by the state. Currently, Telekom's operations include cable television, internet services, the telephone operator Supernova, and more than 20 media platforms. The Independent Journalists Association of Serbia is concerned the legislation will result in extended influence of Telekom. Opposition parties, journalist associations, civil society, and media freedom watchdogs, including Reporters Without Borders and Article-19, said that the new legislation could increase state control over the media. The government and MPs from the ruling party contend that the legislation adheres to the constitution, the Media Strategy, and the EU Audiovisual Directive.

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GSoD Indices Data 2013-2022

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Basic Information

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Population Tooltip
6 844 078
System of government
Parliamentary system
Head of government
Prime Minister Ana Brnabić (since 2017)
Head of government party
Serbian Progressive Party (SNS)
Electoral system for lower or single chamber
List Proportional Representation
Women in lower or single chamber
38.0%
Women in upper chamber
Not applicable
Last legislative election
2023
Effective number of political parties Tooltip
2.41
Head of state
President Aleksandar Vučić
Selection process for head of state
Direct election (two-round majority)
Latest Universal Periodic Review (UPR) date
10/05/2023
Latest Universal Periodic Review (UPR) percentage of recommendations supported
92.11% (2018)
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Human Rights Treaties

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State Party State party
Signatory Signatory
No Action No action
United Nations Human Right Treaties
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
State Party
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
State Party
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
State Party
Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
State Party
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment
State Party
Convention on the Rights of the Child
State Party
International Convention on Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
Signatory
International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance 
State Party
International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
State Party
International Labour Organisation Treaties
Forced Labour Convention
State Party
Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention
State Party
Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention
State Party
Equal Remuneration Convention
State Party
Abolition of Forced Labour Convention
State Party
Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention
State Party
Convention concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment
State Party
Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention
State Party
Regional Treaties
Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
State Party
Protocol to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
State Party
Protocol No. 4 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
State Party
Protocol No. 6 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
State Party
Protocol No. 7 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
State Party
Protocol No. 12 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
State Party
Protocol No. 13 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
State Party
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Performance by category over the last 6 months

Representation neutral Representation
Oct 2023
Nov
Dec
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Feb
Mar 2024
Representation neutral Rights
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Feb
Mar 2024
Representation neutral Rule of law
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Nov
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Jan
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Mar 2024
Representation neutral Participation
Oct 2023
Nov
Dec
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Mar 2024

Global State of Democracy Indices

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Explore the indices
Representation
Representation
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4
Rights
Rights
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4
Rule of Law
Rule of Law
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4
Participation
Participation
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4

Factors of Democratic Performance Over Time

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