Serbia and Montenegro (Yugoslavia until February 2003) entered the process of democratic transition, the creation of a system based on the rule of law, much later than other former socialist countries.
On 4 February 2003 the new state union of Serbia and Montenegro was proclaimed. Under the Constitutional Charter of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, there is only one instance of Serbia and Montenegro having a common judiciary – the Court of Serbia and Montenegro.
Otherwise, each state – the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Montenegro – has its own internal courts system.
A set of important judicial reforms came into force on 1 March 2002 in the Republic of Serbia and in July 2002 amendments to these laws were made that violate the principle of separation of powers and the independence and impartiality of the judiciary.
In Montenegro, several laws relating to the judiciary were passed or amended during 2003.
On 19 March 2003, the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia dismissed 35 judges from office, including seven Supreme Court judges, amid accusations that the judiciary had failed to take tougher measures in dealing with remnants of the former regime as well as in prosecuting organized crime. The legal system in Serbia and Montenegro is still characterized by a number of contradictory and inconsistent regulations, resulting in legal insecurity.
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