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October 10, 2007
In September 2007, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative hosted an important joint training for Serbian prosecutors and police in Novi Sad, a city in the Vojvodina region of Serbia. The Novi Sad gathering was part of an on-going initiative to prepare prosecutors for a new Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) and to provide quality continuing legal education for professionals within the judicial system. While the CPC is still being refined, proposed provisions would entail a dramatic departure from the old code, and will require prosecutors to assume a new role and method of operation. Under the new code, prosecutors would be charged with conducting investigations—a role historically assigned to investigative judges.
Responding to the needs of prosecutors for training in order to implement the new code, ABA ROLI and its partner, the Prosecutors’ Association of Serbia, developed and conducted an initial series of overview training courses, which ended in February 2007. The response and attendance from the first round of Criminal Procedure Code trainings was overwhelming. ABA ROLI expected to train 180 prosecutors; however, a total of 415 prosecutors (well over 50% of total prosecutors throughout Serbia) attended the first round of seminars.
Now, for the second round, staff partnered with the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division Resident Legal Advisor’s Office and the Judicial Training Center for the two-day training in Novi Sad, Serbia on the Leading Role of the Prosecutor in Investigation. Thirty-five prosecutors and policemen from the Vojvodina region, as well as the Novi Sad District Prosecutor, were trained on special investigation techniques, interviewing of witnesses and victims, and cooperation between prosecutors and police. This round promises to be as successful as the first.