Procedural Law

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In order to secure the rule of law principles, it is necessary to establish not only modern state constitutions but also to implement additional measures on a level subordinate to constitutional law. In this context, the procedural law (civil, criminal and administrative procedural law), in particular, is of vital importance. Its ability to secure the fundamental rights has not yet been acknowledged by all the south-eastern European transformation countries.

In the sector of criminal procedural law, throughout the program year of 2007 the Rule of Law Program South East Europe (RLP SEE) has primarily been focusing on measures for the promotion of procedural laws of suspects/accused and their defense in criminal proceedings, as well as, on measures for the protection of victims. The promotion of criminal procedural law based on rule of law principles is among the target work areas of the RLP SEE as it is directly related to the guarantees of fundamental rights and securing those rights, as well as to the guarantees of the European and universal Human Rights Conventions.

The development of the administrative procedural law, too, is a task which applies to all the countries in the region. Administrative procedural law is underdeveloped in all the post-communist countries. This is based on the understanding or non-understanding of the relationship between the individual and the state in these countries during the communist regime. A totalitarian state is unfamiliar with the concept that the individual may claim individual rights in front of the state. During the communist regimes in the countries of the region, administrative procedural law did not exist as a means to enforce the rights of the citizen against the state.
With its function to secure fundamental rights and the rule of law, the administrative procedural law is – just as the criminal procedural law and the constitutional process law are - indispensable for the set-up and consolidation of a constitutional state (“Rechtsstaat”). With its measures, the RLP SEE hopes to raise awareness for this important function of the administrative procedural law and to discuss potential approaches for reforms.

Apart from this, the greatest deficits lie with the citizen’s access to the judicial bodies, the duration of the proceedings as well as the efficiency of the law courts. Technical institutions of development cooperation make a big effort to support the countries of the region in basing the infrastructural grounds for efficient court and administrative proceedings. The RLP SEE accompanies these institutions with measures for promoting transparency and efficiency in court and administrative proceedings, the fight against corruption, and for an intensified civil participation.