The Protector of Citizens is an independent government body that protects and promotes the fulfillment of citizens’ rights by controlling whether the bodies and organizations exercising public authority perform their job in a legal and regular manner. In addition to overseeing the formal compliance with laws and regulations, the Protector of Citizens examines, with particular attention, ethics, conscientiousness, impartiality, expertise, expediency, effectiveness, respect of the citizen’s dignity and other features that should characterize public authorities and that citizens rightfully expect from those they finance as taxpayers.
The Protector of Citizens acts independently and autonomously. He/she is appointed and dismissed by the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia to which he/she reports.
The institution of the Protector of Citizens (Ombudsman) was introduced in the legal system of the Republic of Serbia in 2005 upon the adoption of the Law on the Protector of Citizens. The existence of this institution was later confirmed by the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia in 2006.
The first and the present Protector of Citizens Saša Janković took office on 23 July 2007, by taking oath in front of the members of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia.
The Office of the Protector of Citizens was established on 24 December 2007 with its temporary location in Milutina Milankovića 106, New Belgrade. As of 4 May 2010, the Protector of Citizens moved to its new location at the address Deligradska 16, Belgrade.
The Protector of Citizens can be addressed by filing a complaint or contacted directly by anyone (Serbian citizens, foreigners, stateless persons, refugees, displaced persons, citizen associations, legal entities…) who believes to be deprived of their rights by improper application of regulations of the Republic of Serbia (or failure to apply them) by administrative bodies. Prior to filing a complaint, complainants must try to protect their rights in an appropriate legal procedure.
The communication (over the phone or in person) with citizens is taken care of by the staff in the Office of the Protector of Citizens who, despite a large number of complaints and difficult working conditions, have never refused to receive any client who came to the office beyond regular reception hours, from 09.00h to 16.00h.