The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) on June 2 said in a press release published on its website that Serbia had only partially implemented the two recommendations made to Belgrade in relation to prohibiting the use of hate speech by government officials and MPs and to hiring a proportionate number of Roma in the public administration.
In 2017, ECRI recommended to the Serbian parliament and the Government to adopt codes of conduct prohibiting the use of hate speech, providing for sanctions and suspension of mandate and establishing effective reporting channels.
In the conclusions on the implementation of its priority recommendations addressed to Serbia in 2017, ECRI said it had been informed by the Serbian authorities that the rights and obligations of MPs were defined by the Constitution, national laws and the Rules of Procedure, which prohibited the use of hate speech.
In its response to ECRI in October 2019, the Serbian Government said that the Rules of Procedure had been amended in 2017 to prevent MPs from resorting to hate speech when commenting on war crime trials and from denying such crimes.
Although taking positive note of this partial progress, ECRI stressed that it was necessary to further strengthen the rules which should contain “a coherent and adequate prohibition of the use of hate speech.” “The Council of Europe commission regrets, however, that no progress has been made on the adoption of rules by the Serbian Government, and considers the recommendation only partially implemented,” it is said in the conclusions adopted on April 7, 2020.