The Protector of Citizens is an independent and autonomous government body, responsible for the protection and promotion of rights and liberties. The immunity enjoyed by the Protector of Citizens enables the independence of his/her work. The Protector of Citizens focuses particularly on the protection of:
- National minority rights
- Children rights
- Rights of disabled persons
- Rights of people deprived of liberty
- Gender rights
The Protector of Citizens controls, by checking the allegations of complaints or acting at own initiative, whether state administration bodies, Republic Public Attorney, bodies or organizations exercising public authority, treat the citizens of Serbia in accordance with law and other regulations of the Republic of Serbia or in compliance with the principles of good administration.
The role of the institution of the Protector of Citizens, defined by the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia and the Law on the Protector of Citizens, is to constantly influence the respect of human liberties and rights by personal and institutional authority. By the power of argument, the Protector of Citizens should persuade the authority that an error has been committed, that it is necessary to rectify it and change the way of work.
The Protector of Citizens is not, however, the institution of “voluntary” right. The public administration bodies have a legal obligation to cooperate with the Ombudsman, enable access to all facilities and data, regardless of the degree of confidentiality, when it is of importance to the undertaken procedure. When it is of importance to the undertaken procedure, the Protector of Citizens has the right to talk to every employee of the administration body and the administration body officials are obliged to enable such process.
The Protector of Citizens can publicly recommend dismissal of the official responsible for the violation of citizen’s rights. The Protector of Citizens can request a disciplinary action to be initiates against the employee of the administration body who is directly responsible for the violation of citizen’s rights.
Should it be found that the actions of the official or employee of the administration body contain the elements of criminal or some other punishable act, the Protector of Citizens is authorized to submit to the competent body a request for initiating a criminal, misdemeanor or some other applicable procedure.
The Protector of Citizens is appointed and dismissed by the National Assembly to which he/she reports.
Having appointed its first Protector of Citizens, the Republic of Serbia has opted for the development of democratic relationships between its citizens and the government. The final goal of the Protector of Citizens institution is to contribute to the establishment of liberties and rights, equality principle and preservation of its citizens’ dignity.