About Protector of Citizens

Upon the complaints of citizens or at his/her own initiative, the Protector of Citizens applies a special procedure to check if there are or have been omissions in the work of public administration bodies. If such omissions are identified, the Protector of Citizens requires from the administration body to correct them and recommends an appropriate method. The administration body is obliged to inform the Protector of Citizens on its actions upon recommendation, and if no action has been done, the administration body must explain the reason for that. In addition to initiating and carrying out procedures, the Protector of Citizens is allowed to mediate, provide advice and opinions and urge administration bodies to improve their work and protect human rights and liberties. Thus the Protector of Citizens acts preventively (prevents future violation of rights) and educationally (educates citizens, but also staff of administration bodies, on human rights and their protection).

The Protector of Citizens (Ombudsman) can, upon your complaint or at his/her own initiative, examine whether an administration body has treated you correctly (in  a legal and regular manner), when, by applying the regulations of the Republic of Serbia, it was deciding about your rights, obligation or legal interests, or influencing them. If the Ombudsman has identified the omission or irregularity, he/she will demand the correction of such error and suggest an appropriate method for such correction. The Protector of Citizens will react also if you, a group that you belong to or all citizens are denied or can be denied human or minority rights or liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and binding international documents. The Ombudsman particularly protects children, persons with disabilities, persons deprived of liberty, women (gender equality principle) as well as national minority members in exercising additional individual and collective rights. The National Assembly, the President of the Republic of Serbia, the Government, the Constitutional Court, courts and public prosecutors are excluded from the Protector of Citizen’s control.

Who can file a complaint and how?

All citizens can contact the Protector of Citizens (women, men – adults and children), regardless of citizenship. The Protector of Citizens can also be contacted by any group of citizens, associations, companies or other legal entities, domestic or foreign (unions, NGOs, etc.). The Protector of Citizen, however, can accept only the complaints about the bodies applying the regulations of the Republic of Serbia. The Protector of Citizen has no authority over foreign bodies or international organizations.

Before filing a complaint, the complainant is obligated to try to protect his/her rights in an appropriate legal procedure.

The simplest way of filing a complaint is to fill in a form available in the Protector of Citizens premises. You can also download it here.

Whom and what can you complain about?

The Protector of Citizens can accept the complaints against the bodies that apply the regulations of the Republic of Serbia. The Protector of Citizens has no authority against any foreign bodies or international organizations. Hence, you can complain to unlawful, irregular or malicious activity of:

  • State administration body
  • Body authorized for legal protection of property rights and interests of the Republic of Serbia
  • Other bodies and organizations, companies and institutions entrusted with public authority

The reason for complaining can be the violation of rights and liberties committed through acts, actions or failure to act by administration bodies, if it is the omission regarding national laws, other regulations and general acts.

Is any fee charged for filing a complaint?

The filing of complaint, as well as the entire procedure before the Protector of Citizens, is entirely free of charge.

It is desirable that citizens use their right and address the Protector of Citizens in cases when it is absolutely necessary. Irresponsible filling of complaints deprives others of their rights, money of all tax payers is spent irrationally, valuable time that could be used for solving justified complaints is wasted and general protection of citizens is hindered or rendered difficult.

What language can I use in contacting the Protector of Citizens?

Any language and script that you may use in everyday communication.

In which cases does the Protector of Citizens review the complaint?

The Protector of Citizens will review your complaint if

  • The subject of the complaint is within the purview of the Protector of Citizens
  • Less than a year has passed from the violation of rights till the submission of complaint
  • You have tried to protect your rights with all available legal means
  • You have signed the complaint and filled in all data necessary for the Protector of Citizens to act

If some of the aforementioned conditions are not met, it is considered that there are no grounds for the Protector of Citizens to act and your complaint will be rejected and you will be informed about the reasons.

Exclusively, if some of the aforementioned conditions are not met, the Protector of Citizens may invite you to supplement the complaint. In case you fail to do so, the complaint will be rejected.

Can you suffer any consequences for having contacted the Protector of Citizens?

Citizens cannot be subjected to any criminal, misdemeanor, disciplinary or any other liability or sanction for contacting the Protector of Citizens in good faith or for providing information of significance for the procedure carried out by the Protector of Citizens.

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