Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement

IDP Laws and Policies: Serbia

Serbia Laws and Policies

National Strategy for Resolving the Problems of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (2002)

Purpose: To outline the government’s plan for assistance and detail solutions for refugees and internally displaced persons, with a particularly focus on return (p. 2).

Responsibilities: The Coordinating Centre for Kosovo and Metohija is responsible for coordinating state actors and agencies in resolving barriers to return (p. 6). The Strategy also refers to the Task Force for Monitoring the Implementation of the National Strategy, an inter-ministerial working group established by the government. (p. 9).

Content: The National Strategy identifies eight measures necessary to create conditions for return, including creation of an efficient legal mechanism for protection and repossession of private property (p. 6), establishment of a multi-ethnic judiciary (p. 7), and economic revival and assistance in areas of return (p. 7). The Strategy also identifies key activities necessary to create conditions for local integration of refugees and internally displaced persons, particularly in the areas of housing (s. 3.1), phasing down of collective centers (s. 3.2), and employment (s. 3.3). Finally, the Strategy addresses legal and property aspects of integration and repatriation (s. 4).

Other provisions of note include:

  • Creation of a Fund for Social and Affordable Housing (p. 10);
  • Education scholarships and retraining programs (p. 14);
  • Development of databases on the internally displaced and their property (p. 19).

Protocol on Voluntary and Sustainable Return (2006)

Purpose: To increase the pace of returns (Preamble).

Responsibilities: The Protocol assigns responsibility for complying with the specific activities identified in the Protocol to both Parties equally. In addition, Articles 3 and 4 of the Protocol refer to the involvement of the municipal authorities in the execution of specific activities.

Content: The Protocol ‘takes into consideration’ the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement (Preamble). While the Protocol focuses primarily on return, unlike the National Strategy, the Protocol does envisage settlement in another part of the country as an additional option for the internally displaced (Art. 2). Article 2 does state that the Parties are committed to enable the internally displaced to settle or locally integrate in freely chosen alternative places within Kosovo. The Protocol details the necessary preconditions for return including physical security and access to basic infrastructure (Art. 1) and sets out the procedure for organized returns (Art. 3 – 4).

Provisions of note include:

  • Up-to-date and correct information about conditions of return are to be provided to allow the internally displaced to make an informed decision about return (Art. 1);
  • Internally displaced persons crossing the administrative line to Kosovo are exempt from taxes (Art. 5).