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Successfully organised conference “Green justice: Implementation of horizontal environmental legislation”

The Regional Center for Environmental Law (RCEL) organised conference titled “Green Justice: lmplementation of horizontal environmental legislation” during EU Green Week. This significant event took place on June 7, 2024, at the Miljenko Dereta premises in Belgrade, supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia. Over 50 experts, legal professionals, government representatives, and NGOs gathered to discuss the critical issue of environmental legislation.

Opening session

The conference was opened by Mr. Žarko Petrović, UNDP representative in Serbia, and Mr. Antoine Avignon, representative of the EU Delegation to Serbia. In their opening addresses, they emphasized the vital role of efficient implementation of environmental legislation for the protection of our environment in Serbia and beyond. They highlighted the importance of improving the fight against environmental crime, drawing special attention to the new EU Directive on the criminal law protection of the environment and its implications.

Panel discussions

The conference was structured around three thematic panels, each addressing different aspects of environmental law.

Panel I: Criminal law protection of the environment

Moderated by environmental lawyer Predrag Džamić, this panel delved into the domestic legislative framework and comparative law regarding criminal law protection of the environment. Esteemed speakers included:

  • Prof. Dr. Vanja Bajović, Professor of Criminal Procedural Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Belgrade
  • Dr. Ivana Marković, Assistant Professor of Criminal Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Belgrade

Discussions centered on the current opportunities and challenges within domestic legislation and the new EU Directive on Environmental Crime.

Panel II: Tackling environmental crime

This panel focused on real-world case studies, the challenges of law enforcement, and the roles of inspections, police, and prosecution. The panel, moderated again by Predrag Džamić, featured:

  • Nikola Vuksanović, Head of the Department for Suppression of Crime in the Area of Waste and Hazardous Materials, Ministry of Internal Affairs
  • Nina Nicović, Lawyer specializing in criminal cases with an environmental element
  • Nena Miloradović Bjelica, Senior Public Prosecutor’s Assistant, First Basic Public Prosecutor’s Office in Belgrade
  • Pavle Jovanović, Project Analyst for EU Green Agenda in Serbia, UNDP Serbia

The panelists highlighted the techniques used by public prosecutors to uncover environmental crime and the importance of international cooperation.

Panel III: Civil law protection in environmental matters

Exploring the potentials of civil law in environmental protection, this panel was moderated by RCEL legal expert Danica Janković. The speakers were:

  • Sreten Đorđević, Lawyer specializing in Environmental Law
  • Hristina Vojvodić, Senior Legal Advisor, RERI
  • Denis Perić, Lawyer specializing in Energy Law

The panelists discussed liability for environmental damage, strategic litigation, and climate change-related lawsuits in the EU, and their relevance to Serbia.

Conclusions and Recommendations

The conference concluded with a session of final remarks and recommendations, underscoring the necessity for ongoing improvements in the legislative framework and the effective application of environmental law. The dynamic program and interactive discussions, enriched by audience participation, facilitated a valuable exchange of knowledge and experiences among participants. This conference marked a significant step forward in raising awareness and enhancing the tools available for environmental protection in Serbia.

RCEL expresses its gratitude to all participants and supporters, looking forward to continuing this essential dialogue and fostering stronger environmental legislation and enforcement.