The members of the Working Group for the development of Draft Law on the procedure of determining the facts in the cases of missing babies, where there are grounds for suspicion that they were taken from the maternity wards in the Republic of Serbia, met today, 10 February 2016, with a group of parents whose children are missing. The members of the Working Group discussed with parents the Amendments to Draft Law made upon obtaining expert opinion - Expertise of the Council of Europe.

The members of the Working Group reminded the parents that they have thoroughly considered, upon completed public consultation and expertise given by the Council of Europe,  taking into account  the legal framework and the Constitutional provisions, all submitted opinions. They emphasized that certain opinions have been included in the new Draft Law. Furthermore, they also highlighted that the new Draft Law provides greater powers to the court in collecting facts, and stipulates that the witnesses in these cases now face more severe consequences as regards their responsibility.

The representatives of parents expressed their doubt in the application of the said Law in practice, and emphasized that the “missing babies” issue may be resolved only in a quality investigation procedure.

Bearing in mind doubts and suspicions of parents, the members of the Working Group expressed their belief that this Draft Law shall provide to the parents, who suspect that their children were taken away from maternity wards in Serbia, the widest range of possibilities to establish facts on children who were allegedly taken away. They reminded that according to Draft Law, a specialised unit shall be established within the Ministry of Interior for the implementation of certain enquires carried out in the procedure, at request of the court.

The members of  the Working Group informed the parents that amending the Criminal Code is underway, where amendments to Articles 191 and 192 of the Criminal Code, relating to future cases, have also been proposed.

All members of the Working Group participated in the meeting, as follows: State Secretary of the Ministry of Justice Biljana Pavlović, State Secretaries of the Ministry of Health, Berislav Vekić and Vladimir Djukić, Judge of the Supreme Court of Cassation and President of the Court of Appeal in Novi Sad Novica Peković, Public Prosecutor of the Appellate Public Prosecutor's Office in Novi Sad Milan Tkalac, Assistant Minister of Justice Zoran Balinovac; acting Serbian Representative before the European Court of Human Rights Nataša Plavšić, Deputy Republic Public Prosecutor Tamara Mirović, representatives of the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Interior, Jelica Radulović, Vinka Kojadinović and Dejan Svilar. Beside the members of the Working Group, representatives of the Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights participated in the meeting as well as representatives of the Office of the Protector of Citizens.