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Serbia monitors condemn violence and call for transparency

The PACE monitoring co-rapporteurs for Serbia, Ian Liddell-Grainger (United Kingdom, EC/DA) and Piero Fassino (Italy, SOC), have expressed great concern following the latest demonstrations and last week brutal clashes with police after new lockdown measures were announced in the country.

“Any such level of violence is unacceptable in a democracy. We urge the authorities to undertake a thorough investigation of the violent incidents that took place this week in Serbia and we call on all sides to show restraint,” they said. “In these challenging times, when COVID-19 can trigger anxiety and pain in the population, the authorities are expected to provide transparent and reliable data on the crisis and to put forward consistent sanitary policies which contain the pandemic while safeguarding democratic standards, including media freedom.”

“In this respect, we believe that the newly-elected parliament should make full use of its oversight function, in consultation with all relevant stakeholders - including extra-parliamentary political parties and independent bodies – and draw lessons from the management of the crisis and the developments that followed the parliamentary elections of 21 June and 1 July,” they said.

“The ruling party, which now enjoys an overwhelming majority in parliament, has a special responsibility to find peaceful and inclusive ways to overcome these challenges. Good governance, transparency, accountability and full respect for fundamental rights and Council of Europe standards will be key. We will continue to closely follow the situation in the framework of the monitoring procedure.”