Constitution of Serbia

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The current Constitution of the Republic of Serbia (Serbian: Устав Републике Србије / Ustav Republike Srbije) was adopted in 2006, replacing the previous constitution dating from 1990.[1] The adoption of new constitution became necessary in 2006 when Serbia became independent state after Montenegro's secession and the dissolution of Serbia and Montenegro.

The proposed text of the constitution was adopted by the National Assembly on 30 September 2006 and put on referendum which was held on 28-29 October 2006. After 53.04% of the electorate supported the proposed constitution, it was officially adopted on 8 November 2006.

The Constitution contains a preamble, 206 articles, 11 parts, and no amendments.

Main provisions[edit]

Among the constitution's two hundred other articles are guarantees of human and minority rights, abolishment of capital punishment, and banning of human cloning. It assigns the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet as the official script, while making provisions for the use of minority languages at local levels.[2] Among the differences between the current and previous constitution are:

  • Only private, corporate and public property is acknowledged; social assets shall cease to exist.
  • Foreign citizens are permitted to own property.
  • Full independence is granted to the National Bank of Serbia.
  • As part of a process of decentralization, the granting of municipal properties' ownership rights to local municipalities.
  • The province of Vojvodina is granted economic autonomy.
  • The constitution mentions "European values and standards" for the first time.
  • The constitution assigns the Serbian language and the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet as the official language and alphabet in use, respectively.
  • The adoption of the national anthem, Bože pravde (God of Justice).
  • Special protection for the rights of consumers, mothers, children and minorities.
  • Greater freedom of information.
  • Marriage is defined as the "union between a man and a woman"

Constitutional status of Kosovo[edit]

The current constitution defines the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija as an integral part of Serbia, but with "substantial autonomy". Under the opinion of the Venice Commission in respect to substantial autonomy of Kosovo, an examination of The Constitution makes it clear that this fundamental autonomy is not at all guaranteed at the constitutional level, as the constitution delegates almost every important aspect of this autonomy to the legislature.[3]

According to writer Noel Malcolm, the 1903 constitution was still in force at the time that Serbia conquered Kosovo (in 1912-1913). He elaborates that this constitution required a Grand National Assembly before Serbia's borders could be expanded to include Kosovo; but no such Grand National Assembly was ever held. Constitutionally, he argues, Kosovo should not have become part of the Kingdom of Serbia. It was initially ruled by decree.[4][5][page needed]

Structure[edit]

Preamble[edit]

The Constitution of Serbia contains a preamble:

"Considering the state tradition of the Serbian people and equality of all citizens and ethnic communities in Serbia,
Considering also that the Province of Kosovo and Metohija is an integral part of the territory of Serbia, that it has the status of a substantial autonomy within the sovereign state of Serbia and that from such status of the Province of Kosovo and Metohija follow constitutional obligations of all state bodies to uphold and protect the state interests of Serbia in Kosovo and Metohija in all internal and foreign political relations,
the citizens of Serbia adopt"

Chapters[edit]

The Constitution of Serbia is divided into 10 chapters:

  1. Constitution Principles
  2. Human and Minority Rights and Freedoms
  3. Economic System and Public Finances
  4. Competencies of the Republic of Serbia
  5. Organisation of Government
  6. The Constitutional Court
  7. Territorial Organization
  8. Constitutionality and Legality
  9. Amending the Constitution
  10. Final Provision

Constitutional status of Kosovo[edit]

Further information: Political status of Kosovo

The current constitution defines the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija as an integral part of Serbia, but with "substantial autonomy". Under the opinion of the Venice Commission in respect to substantial autonomy of Kosovo, an examination of The Constitution makes it clear that this fundamental autonomy is not at all guaranteed at the constitutional level, as the constitution delegates almost every important aspect of this autonomy to the legislature.[6]

According to writer Noel Malcolm, the 1903 constitution was still in force at the time that Serbia annexed Kosovo (in 1912-1913). He elaborates that this constitution required a Grand National Assembly before Serbia's borders could be expanded to include Kosovo; but no such Grand National Assembly was ever held. Constitutionally, he argues, Kosovo should not have become part of the Kingdom of Serbia. It was initially ruled by decree.[7][8][page needed]

Constitutional history[edit]

Front page of the "Candlemas constitution" of 1835.

Serbia has adopted 13 constitutions throughout its history.[9] Listed below in order of year adopted:

  • Constitution of the 1219 known as Zakonopravilo (The Rule of Law)Kingdom of Serbia, Nomocanon of Saint Sava - Written by Prince Rastko Nemanjic later Saint Sava see link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zakonopravilo
  • Constitution of the 1282–1321 King Stephen Uroš II Milutin of Serbia Kingdom of Serbia, this constitution "Law of the Sainted King" is used as a base for later Dusan's Code On May 21, 1349 - King (Kralj) then Emperor (Czar) Stephen Uroš IV Dušan of Serbia
  • Constitution of the Serbian Empire "Dušan's Code" "Dušanov Zakonik" was promulgated at a state council on May 21, 1349 (Easter) King (Kralj) then Emperor (Czar "Caesar" of all Serbs and Romans-Greeks) Stephen Uroš IV Dušan of Serbia, see link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dušan's_Code
  • Constitutional amendments 1355 of the Serbian Empire "Dušan's Code" "Dušanov Zakonik" amendments to the previous constitution from 1349.
  • Constitution of the Principality of Serbia, adopted 1835, so-called "Candlemas constitution" (Sretenjski ustav)
    • Constitution of 1838, often called "Turkish constitution", issued in the form of Turkish firman
    • Constitution of 1869
  • Constitution of the Kingdom of Serbia, adopted 1888

Between 1918 and 1945 Serbia was part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and Democratic Federal Yugoslavia, and had no constitution of its own.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Rare unity over Serb constitution". BBC News. 30 October 2006. 
  2. ^ "Šta donosi predlog novog ustava Srbije" (in Serbian). B92. 30 September 2006. 
  3. ^ "Opinion on the Constitution of Serbia". Venice Commission. 17/18 March 2007. Retrieved 23 January 2013.  [dead link]
  4. ^ Malcolm, Noel (1999). Kosovo: A Short History. Harper Perennial. ISBN 978-0-06-097775-7. 
  5. ^ Perić, La question constitutionelle en Serbie, Paris 1914
  6. ^ "Opinion on the Constitution of Serbia". Venice Commission. 17/18 March 2007. Retrieved 23 January 2013.  [dead link]
  7. ^ Malcolm, Noel (1999). Kosovo: A Short History. Harper Perennial. ISBN 978-0-06-097775-7. 
  8. ^ Perić, La question constitutionelle en Serbie, Paris 1914
  9. ^ Serbian Constitutional History Part I

External links[edit]