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Courtesy of the Venice Commission for Democracy Through Law
www.venice.coe.int


DRAFT LAW
ON RELIGIOUS ORGANISATIONS IN SERBIA

 

I - GENERAL PROVISIONS

 

Article 1

Freedom of religion

 

This Law sets forth and describes the content of the right to freedom of religion, guaranteed by the Constitution to the citizens of Serbia, and which includes:

-         the freedom to publicly manifest belief in God and perform religious services;

-         the right to preserve, develop and publicly display religious heritage and tradition; 

-         the right to publicly manifest а religious view of the world;

-         the free development of religious education and religious culture.

 

A citizen may neither be discriminated against or favoured in public life due to his religious convictions, affiliation or non-affiliation with a religious organisation, nor due to participation or non-participation in religious services or the practicing or non-practicing of all guaranteed religious freedoms and rights.

 

The freedom of religion is guaranteed to all foreign citizens in Serbia. 

 

Article 2

The social importance of religious organisations

 

Freedom of religion is actualized in traditional Churches, historical Religious Communities, Confessional Communities and religious groups. (Hereinafter all these are referred to as “religious organisations”.)

 

Religious organisations are public organisations of particular importance for the determination and development of universal human values; for the advancement of spiritual dignity and the affirmation of the cultural identity of nations and ethnic groups; for the cultivation of humane relations among individuals; for harmonising the interests of social groups in the spirit of tolerance, understanding and solidarity; for the free development of education and culture.

 

Religious organisations are called upon to promote social understanding, esteem and respect of difference and particularity with which is confirmed the spiritual, ethnic, cultural and linguistic identity of citizens and cultivated the indigenous and historically established religious pluralism of Serbia.

 

Article 3

Autonomy of religious organisations

 

The state guarantees to all religious organisations full autonomy in society, which comprises: а) their right to completely independently regulate their internal organisation, in accordance with their own principles and in the spirit of their own traditions; b) to elect and appoint their religious dignitaries, priests[1] and clerics[2]; c) to freely and autonomously conduct all their internal and public affairs.

 

Article 4

Legislation of religious organisations

 

The spiritual-legislative, administrative and judicial-disciplinary power of religious organisations belongs to themselves only, that is to say, to the competent bodies as defined in their constitutions, statutes, decrees and other general acts.

 

Constitutions, statutes and other general acts of religious organisations are recognised and accepted by the public authorities as acquired rights and as expressions of the guaranteed autonomy of religious organisations in society.

 

Religious organisations are obliged to observe their constitutions, statutes, decrees and other general acts and to act in accordance thereto.

 

Public authority may not and cannot influence amendments to their constitutions, statutes, decrees and other general acts, nor may it interfere in application thereof.

 

Concerning the enforcement of decisions and judgements passed by the competent bodies of religious organisations, and only at their request, the public authorities are obliged to extend relevant administrative and executive assistance. 

 

Article 5

Legal attributes of religious organisations

 

Religious organisations are public organisations and possess the attributes of a legal entity.

 

Particular parts and institutions of religious organization may be afforded the attributes of a legal entity if so requested by the competent bodies of a religious organisation.   

 

Religious organisations may by their acts amend and abolish their internal bodies, that is, any given organisational unit possessing the attributes of a legal entity.   

 

All religious organisations and their legal entities shall publicly use only official names determined by their canons, constitutional or statutory provisions.

 

Article 6

Freedom of speech in religious organisations

 

Religious organisations, as well as every citizen, has the right to publicly express critical comments on the teachings or practice of others, but no one may challenge the guaranteed freedoms and rights of others, nor may he propagate falsehoods, prejudices and intolerance toward religious organisations or against citizens who do not declare themselves as believers.

               

 

II  -TYPES OF RELIGIOUS ORGANISATIONS

 

Article 7

Traditional churches

 

The declarative status of traditional Church is given to Churches which have centuries-long historical continuity in Serbia and which have contributed significantly to the development of European Christian culture. These are: the Serbian Orthodox Church and other Orthodox churches canonically established on the territory of Serbia; the Catholic Church (Roman Catholic and Greek Catholic), the Slovak Evangelical Church a.v., the Christian Reform Church and the Evangelical Christian Church a.v.

 

 

Article 8

The Serbian Orthodox Church

 

Appreciating the civilizational and state-building role of the Serbian Orthodox Church, recognising the fact that it is the majority religious organization seat is in Serbia, honorary precedence is declaratively recognised to the Serbian Orthodox Church, which reflects the historic and natural right as well as the self-assumed obligation to represent, before domestic and foreign public authorities, the joint rights and harmonised viewpoints and interests of all religious organisations in Serbia.

 

This Law establishes the formal continuity of legal subjectivity to the Serbian Orthodox Church that it had acquired pursuant to the law Nacertanije o duhovnim vlastima (the Scheme on Ecclesiastical Authority), adopted by the National Assembly of the Principality of Serbia on 21 May 1836, and the Law on the Serbian Ortodox Church ("Official Gazette of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia", 269/1929)

 

Article 9

The Catholic Church

 

This Law establishes the formal continuity of legal subjectivity of the Catholic Church in Serbia that it had acquired pursuant to the Law on the Concordat between the Kingdom of Serbia and the Holy See, ratified by the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Serbia in Niš on 26 July 1914.

 

Article 10

Traditional Evangelical and Reform Christian Churches

 

This Law establishes the formal continuity of legal subjectivity of the Traditional Evangelical and Reform Christian Churches that they had acquired pursuant to the Law on Evangelical-Christian Churches and on the Reform Christian Church of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia ("Official Gazette of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia", 16 April 1930).

 

Article 11

Historical Religious Communities

 

The status of historical Religious community is recognised to ethnic-religious communities with centuries-old historic continuity in Serbia and which have significantly contributed to the establishment of pluralist religious and cultural models in Serbia. These are: the Islamic Community and the Jewish Community. 

 

Article 12
The Islamic Religious Community

 

This Law establishes the formal continuity of legal subjectivity to the Islamic Religious Community that it had acquired pursuant to the Law on the Islamic Religious Community of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia ("("Official Gazette of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia", 31 January 1930).

Article 13

The Jewish Religious Community

 

This Law establishes the formal continuity of legal subjectivity to the Jewish Religious Community that it had acquired pursuant to the Law on the Religious Community of Jews in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia ("Official Gazette of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia", 24 December 1929).

 

Article 14

Legal status of Traditional Churches and Historical Religious Communities

 

Traditional Churches and historical Religious Communities that through this Law establish formal continuity of their legal subjectivity, status and activity are not subject to re-registration but shall be automatically recorded in the Register of religious organisations maintained by the relevant ministry.                                                                 

                                        

Article 15

Confessional Communities

 

Confessional Communities are Churches, religious movements and religious communities which have contributed to the confessional differentiation in the 19th and 20th centuries to affirming contemporary ideas on religious freedom, and have been registered pursuant to laws in force in the period from 1953 to 1993 (the Law on the legal status of religious communities, “Official Gazette of the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia, 27 May 1953 and the Law on the Legal Status of Religious Communities, “Official Gazette of the SR of Serbia”, 44/1977).

 

Article 16

Legal status of Confessional Communities

 

Legal subjectivity and continuity shall be recognised to Confessional Communities which have been active to date on the basis of the aforementioned laws.

 

Confessional Communities whose legal continuity and attributes of a legal entity have been recognised by aforementioned laws shall be automatically recorded in the Register of religious organisations maintained by the relevant ministry.

 

Becoming recorded in the Register is accomplished by submitting a properly completed registration form. 

 

Two or more Confessional Communities with the same name may not be recorded in the Register.     

 

Article 17

Religious Groups

 

A religious group is a religiously-based association of citizens which has not been registered to date through any law related to religious organisations. Religious groups acquire the right to registration with this Law.  

 

Article 18

Religious Associations

 

Two or more religious organisations may form associations.

 

Religious organisations that enter into an association are required to file notice with the within 30 days of forming the association the relevant ministry so as to be recorded in the Register.

 

When an association of Religious Organisations files notice to be registered, the notice must contain the founding act, statute and seat of the association, information on its objectives and the territory of its activity, information on authorised officers that shall represent the association as well as the written agreement of members on voluntarily entering into the association.

 

 

III - LITURGY, RELIGIOUS SERVICES AND SPIRITUAL MISSION

 

Article 19

Religious localities

 

 

Religious organisations freely perform liturgies, religious services, spiritual missions and other activities in their own temples and other premises in their ownership.

 

Liturgy, religious service and activities may be held also in rented premises.

 

Religious services may be held also in indoor and outdoor public places, as well as in places related to important historical events or individuals.

 

Article 20

Liturgy in public institutions

 

Religious organisations may hold religious services in schools, government institutions, hospitals, military, police, welfare and children’s institutions, penal institutions, public and private companies and in other institutions. 

 

The competent bodies of the above institutions are obliged to provide for the holding of religious services therein, at the request of members of these institutions or at the request of users of their services.

 

Religious organisations shall themselves determine the manner and conditions under which they shall meet the request of the above institutions to occasionally, constantly or on suitable occasions hold religious services.  

 

The rights and obligations in holding religious services, between public institutions and organisations and other legal entities on one side, and religious organisations on the other, shall be defined by individual agreements concluded between the interested parties.

            

Article 21

Religious study in state and private schools

 

Religious organisations may perform their spiritual mission in state and private schools through religious study.

 

The right to organise religious study in state schools is regulated by the Education System Act.

 

The manner of organising religious study in state schools, curricula and programs, selections of the religious instructor, proposed textbooks and other teaching implements and other issues concerning this aspect of the Law shall be specified by separate regulations issued by the relevant ministry, taking into account the proposals of the Commission for Realising the Program of Religious Education, established by the Government.

 

Article 22

Ecclesiastical content in the public broadcasting service

 

The broadcasting service shall be open and accessible to all religious organisations in order to facilitate the realisation of ecclesiastic content under equal conditions, in accordance with law.

 

 

IV - CLERGY AND CLERICS

 

Article 23

The role of priests in society

 

The clergy are public servants. They perform an activity that satisfies the religious, spiritual, psychological, traditional and cultural needs of citizens.

Article 24

Appointment of clergy

 

Members of the clergy of all ranks are selected and appointed by religious organisations in accordance with their constitutional legislation.

 

In performing religious services, the clergy are guaranteed full freedom, autonomy and immunity before public authorities.

 

Every member of the clergy is entitled to participate in all forms of public life, except when so prohibited by internal rules or particular regulations of the appointing religious organisation.  

 

Discharging of clerical duties is governed by the internal legislation of religious organisations. 

 

Every member of the clergy appointed in a religious organisation is duty-bound to extend spiritual instruction and comfort to every individual who so requires, and free of change in accordance with the teachings and canons of the clergyman’s faith.

 

Article 25

The right to material compensation for religious service

 

The clergy and relevant clerics of a religious organisation are entitled to material compensation for performing religious service and other activities, pursuant to decrees issued autonomously by the competent bodies of religious organisations.

 

Every religious organisation issues a decree determining for which services the priest is entitled to charge the members of the congregation and at what price.

 

Every member of the clergy is called upon to perform the services, in the spirit of canon law, for those who are unable to pay the foreseen compensation.

 

Article 26

Legal protection of the clergy

 

The secrecy of the confessional is inviolate.

 

A member of the clergy may not be summoned to bear witness on events about which he has learned in confession.

 

If the police arrest a member of the clergy or a cleric and the court instigates an investigation, the high authority of the religious organisation to which the clergyman belong shall be so informed without delay, as well as on its final outcome.  

 

 

V - SOCIAL RIGHTS OF THE CLERGY

 

Article 27

The right to social security

 

Health, social and pension insurance of clergy is settled from the state budget, in accordance with the regulations in force. 

 

The Government shall by separate decree determine the number of clergy from each religious organisation, entitled to this benefit, in proportion to the number of congregants. The principle of positive discrimination shall be applied to small religious communities.  

 

Religious organisations are required to pay the contributions, in accordance with law, for clergy not included in the quota for mandatory state social and pension insurance, except for those clergy who voluntarily opt to pay the contributions themselves. The competent public authorities are required to verify whether religious organisations are fulfilling this obligation.

 

Religious organisations are required to pay the contributions for pension-disability and health insurance for all their clerics, in accordance with law, except for those who voluntarily opt for self-payment. The relevant public authorities shall be endowed with the competencies to control fulfilment of this obligation.

 

A clergyman may be a foreign citizen. If permanently engaged in the religious organisation, he shall be exempted from the payment of foreign resident tax.

 

Article 28

The right to salary from the budget

 

A clergyman working in undeveloped areas or impoverished environments in which he is unable to satisfy his personal or family material needs through salaried methods, is entitled to file a request through the competent body of the religious organisation to receive a salary from the budget amounting to the average monthly income in the state.  

 

The criterion and procedure for exercising this right is determined by the Government by separate decree, issued on the basis of harmonised recommendation between the relevant ministry and the competent bodies of the religious organisations.

 

On the basis of the above decree, separate agreements shall be concluded with those religious organisations that meet the required criteria for the exercise of this right.

 

Article 29

Insurance of monastic orders

 

 

Monks and nuns (members of religious orders) are entitled to mandatory health, pension and disability insurance paid by the state.

 

Article 30

Social rights of students in denominational schools

 

Regular students of denominational schools and faculties (seminaries for clergy and clerics) have a right to health protection, child allowance, social security, pupils’ and students’ benefits, deferment of military service and non-combatant military service, under conditions and in manner realised by pupils and students of state and private schools and faculties.

          

The right to non-combatant military service in institutions of religious organisations shall be recognised to other members of religious organisations invoking the relevant conscientious objection provision.

 

Article 31

Requirements for realising the rights

 

The requirements and manner of exercising the societal rights as specified in Articles 27, 28, 29 and 30 shall be specified by separate agreements individually concluded by the state with each religious organisation.

 

Article 32

The rights of employees in religious organisations

 

Citizens employed in religious organisations conclude employment agreements and realise their employment rights in accordance with internal organisation and rules defined by the religious organisations, and in accordance with the labour legislation in force.

 

 

VI - EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITY OF RELIGIOUS ORGANISATIONS

 

Article 33

Religious schools and institution of higher learning

 

The religious organisations are free to establish schools and institutions of higher learning in order to prepare students for the priesthood or other clerical duties.

 

The relevant bodies of religious organisations shall take decision on establishing religious schools or institutions of higher learning.

 

Religious organisations may establish special high schools, as well as professional and art schools, in accordance with law. 

 

Article 34

Religious/denominational schools in the public education system

 

The competent bodies of religious organisations may instigate proceedings for accreditation and verification of religious schools and institutions of higher learning with the relevant ministry for granting public institution status.

 

Schools and institutions of higher learning that are verified acquire the right to be financed from the state budget.

 

The number of religious schools and/or pupils of such schools financed from the state budget are determined in proportion to the number of members of a particular religious organisation. 

 

The Government determines the network of religious schools financed from the state budget via a harmonised proposal of the relevant ministry and the competent bodies of the religious organisation.

The state is obliged to finance religious schools and faculties on the state budget in the same manner as state schools and institutions of higher learning.

 

 

Article 35

Autonomy of religious schools and faculties

 

Organisational and curricular autonomy is guaranteed to all religious schools and faculties within the public education system.

 

The competent bodies of religious organisations issue the curricula for theological subjects in secondary religious schools.

 

Religious organisations harmonise the programs for general education subject (Serbian and native language, foreign language, national history, history of culture and arts, information technology, mathematics with statistics etc) with corresponding programs in high schools or in secondary schools and art schools, without the obligation to adopt the programs in full and with the right to modify and adapt such programs to their own educational objectives.

 

Religious organisations propose textbooks and supplementary teaching materials and appoint and dismiss principals, teachers and instructors in secondary religious schools and other schools founded by them, adhering to the general standards in force for state schools.


Article 36

Supervision in religious schools

 

Pedagogic and administrative supervision in verified religious schools is done by the competent ministry; financial control is done by bodies of the Ministry of Finance, and supervision of the educational process and special organisational and curricular forms that are the expression and foundation of this guaranteed autonomy is performed by the relevant bodies and services of religious organisations.

 

Article 37

Religious school diplomas

 

Diplomas acquired in religious schools and institutions of higher learning that are verified as public education institutions are equivalent in rank with the corresponding diplomas of public and private schools and institutions of higher learning.  


 

VII - CULTURAL ACTIVITY OF RELIGIOUS ORGANISATIONS

 

Article 38

Significance of cultural activity

 

Religious organisations as public institutions that develop, preserve, pass down and promote the cultures of all nations among whose citizens they are active, as well as a universal religious culture and its permanent values.  

 

Article 39

Pillars of cultural activity

 

The pillars of cultural activity within the framework of religious organisations are monasteries, libraries, museums, treasuries, archives, cultural and artistic societies, choirs, specialised schools, artistic workshops and other institutions and associations.

 

 

 

Article 40

Financing of cultural programs

 

All institutions within the framework of religious organisations realising cultural programs are entitled to compete for grants from competent public authorities and commissions, under the same terms as all other public or private institutions.

 

Article 41

Financing of cultural institutions

 

Following an evaluation of the significance of a cultural institution belonging to a religious organisations, the state may undertake to fully finance particular institutions.

 

Article 42

Budgetary allocations for cultural activities

 

The relevant ministry is obligated to allocate a certain percentage from the overall subsidy to religious organisations for their cultural and publishing programs.

 

Article 43

Monasteries

 

Monasteries represent the centres in which the classic stadium of indigenous Christian culture is preserved, handed down and developed; they are also the living cultural memorials of particular importance for the people and the state.

 

Article 44

Maintenance of monasteries

 

Special government-appointed Commission comprising representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church and relevant ministries shall make a list of active monasteries to be granted the status of institutions of exceptional religious, cultural and national importance. 

 

The activities and upkeep of monasteries belonging to this category shall be financed from the state budget.

 

Upkeep of other monasteries shall be under the competence of local authorities and regional institutes mandated to protect cultural heritage.

 

Local public authorities are obliged to provide in their budgets a separate budget item for financing the upkeep and reconstruction of monasteries on their territory.


 

VIII - CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITY OF RELIGIOUS ORGANISATIONS

 

Article 45

The right to independent construction

 

Religious organisations may erect buildings for religious and administrative needs, as well as schools, boarding houses, shelters, hospitals, production facilities and other structures on their lands.

 

Article 46

The right to be accorded construction permits

 

The competent town and municipal organs are obliged, in agreement with religious organisations, to provide in their urban plan, for the construction of religious edifices pursuant to expressed needs of the congregation.

 

Organs of local public authorities may exempt religious organisations from payment of all utility taxes for the purpose of undertaking construction on land upon which the edifice for religious purposes is to be erected.

 

Building material intended for construction or rehabilitation of religious edifices as well as for their functional furnishing is not subject to taxes.

 

Article 47

Construction requirements

 

The erection of religious edifices may commence upon obtaining permission of the competent body of a religious organisation, as well as all necessary permits provided by law and other regulations governing this field.

 

Competent public authority organs, pursuant to construction regulations in force, shall perform technical-structural and financial supervision during construction.

           

Public authority organs are obliged, during all phases of construction of religious edifices, to respect the rights and competencies of the specialized experts employed by religious organisations, who determine the style, spirit, interior decoration and purpose of the edifice.

 

Article 48

Collective financing of construction

 

For the erection of temples and other religious edifices, religious organisations are entitled to propose and initiate before the local organs of public authorities to call a referendum on introducing voluntary specified-purpose local taxes.

 

These organs are obliged to call a referendum if so requested by a religious organisation. 

 

Organisation and costs of referendum is within the purview and responsibilities of the local authorities.

 

Funds from local voluntary taxes are collected by the administrative apparatus of the local authorities and shall be forwarded to the competent body of the religious organisation.

 

The competent local organ of public authorities has the right to control whether funds from the voluntary local tax are used appropriately and rationally.

 

Article 49

Protection of sacral heritage

 

Religious organisations may found their own institutes for the protection of sacral cultural heritage, in accordance with laws and regulations in force. 

 

Religious organisations are owners and copyright holders of their sacral cultural heritage.

 

Ownership and copyright are regulated by separate law.

 

 

IX - HUMANITARIAN ACTIVITY OF RELIGIOUS ORGANISATIONS

 

Article 50

Requirements for humanitarian activity

 

Religious organisations may realise social and humanitarian goals within the framework of their basic activities, and may also found separate organisations and institutions for such a purpose, such as hospitals, infirmaries, pharmacies, kindergartens, nursing homes, homes for children without parental care, orphanages, homes for persons with special needs and addiction treatmant centers and other humanitarian institutions.   

 

The above institutions must be registered and possess a work permit from competent public authorities.   

 

The above institutions operate pursuant to the same regulations and standards as similar institutions founded by the state, private persons or a secular association or organisation.

 

The competent public authority organs exercise supervision of the work of these institutions.

           

Article 51

Government subventions for humanitarian activity

 

Humanitarian and social activities of religious organisations, and the activity of humanitarian organisations and institutions founded by religious organisations, are exempt from taxes and other dues, and technical equipment and medical supplies intended for these activities may be imported duty-free.

 

 

X  - PRODUCTION ACTIVITY OF RELIGIOUS ORGANISATIONS

 

Article 52

The right to economic activity

 

Religious organisations may found and have production plants for the manufacture of candles and clothing, icon-painting, engraving, restoration, sculpting, instrument-making and other workshops.

 

Religious organisations may found and own radio and television stations, publishing houses and travel agencies.

 

Article 53

The economic activity in the function of basic existence

 

The economic activity of religious organisations which is in the service of satisfying religious and spiritual needs or serves to augment religious education and culture is exempt from taxes.   

 

Objects and material received by religious organisations from abroad and which are exclusively intended for purposes specified in the preceding paragraph, are exempt from import duty. 

 

Religious organisations are exempt from import duty for all imports for their basic existence, as well as for humanitarian-social activity.

 

Article 54

For-profit economic activity

 

Religious organisations may found enterprises, banks, and insurance companies and engage in other forms of for-profit economic activity.  

 

The establishment and operation of commercial legal entities that are part of religious organisations is subject to the same legislative regulations as all other forms of economic activity, without entitlement to tax relief or other special benefits.

 

The Ministry of Finance and its relevant organs are obliged to verify the legality of acquiring revenue and expenditure of all these organisational units and institutions, at the request of the authorities of religious organisations themselves or of competent public authorities.

 

Religious organisations are independent in managing their income acquired through profit-making activities.

 

 

XI  - PROPERTY AND FINANCES OF RELIGIOUS ORGANISATIONS

  

Article 55

The right to property

 

Religious organisations may own movable and real property both domestically and abroad.

 

Property of religious organisations comprises temples and other edifices for religious service, land, forests, production, social, humanitarian, charitable, cultural-educational institutes and facilities, endowments and other residential buildings, other property for performing religious activity, promoting religious education and culture, social and humanitarian activities, pecuniary funds, as well as any acquired or temporarily seized property.  

 

Article 56

Management of property

 

Religious organisations may establish funds and foundations for realising and encouraging religious and social-humanitarian activities, for the development of education, culture, science, and for the social protection of its members as well as for other purposes, in accordance with their constitutions and the statutes and laws in force.

 

Religious organisations, together with their congregation and clergy and through their supreme or self-management bodies and representatives, and in accordance with their internal order, autonomously manage their property, capital, funds and foundations, in accordance with laws in force.

 

Article 57

Return of seized property

 

Movables and real property in ownership of religious organisations may not be seized.

 

Separate law shall regulate the return of previously seized property of religious organisations.

 

Until the enactment of a law on the return of confiscated property and at the request of a religious organisation or its constituent part, the seized property may be ceded to it for use without compensation to the public authorities.

 

Article 58

Rights and allowances for acquiring income

 

Religious organisations have the right to collect contributions and receive gifts domestically and abroad.

 

Contributions and gifts received by religious organisations from natural persons and legal entities are not taxable.

 

Natural persons and legal entities giving contributions and gifts to religious organisations don not pay VAT or income tax on the donated amount.

 

Religious organisations autonomously determine the purpose and autonomously control the use of collected or given funds, in accordance with their own decrees and regulations.  

 

Article 59

Property tax

 

Real property intended for performing religious services, administrative, educational and humanitarian work, accommodation of clergy and clerics, as well as monasteries, museums, libraries and other cultural institutions belonging to religious organisations are not subject to property tax if recorded as property belonging to a religious organisation.  

 

Religious organisations are not liable for sales tax on real property when buying or receiving as a gift buildings and land planned for the construction of religious edifices, as well as facilities intended for religious, cultural and charitable purposes.

 

Article 60

Right to governmental financial aid

 

The state shall annually allocate in the budget funds for the support of various activities of religious organisations. 

 

Budgetary funds are approved pro rata to the number of members of a religious organisation and depend as well on the importance and the type of programs realised by religious organisations in the field of culture, education, social, humanitarian, or other activity of interest to citizens.

 

The competent public authorities have the right to control the use of earmarked funds allocated from the budget.

 

 

XII - ESTABLISHING NEW RELIGIOUS ORGANISATIONS


Article 61

Rights and requirements of establishment

 

New religious organisations may be established by citizens of Serbia.

 

The application to be recorded as religious organisation in the Register, filed by an authorised officer, shall contain:

-         request for registration,

-         name and seat of the organisation,

-         statute or other written act, with description of organisational structure and denotation of hierarchically lower organisational units,

-         information on the fundamentals of religious teachings and history of the origin of the faith in question,

-         signatures of 700 adult members with personal ID number and home address,

-         the external public designation of the organisation. 

 

Article 62

Registration of new religious organisations

 

The competent ministry shall issue a decision on the application to be recorded in the Register within 60 days of receiving a valid application as defined in Article 61.

 

In the event of an incomplete or improper application, the Ministry shall notify the submitter to rectify, supplement or correct the application within 60 days.

 

If the application is not rectified, supplemented or corrected within the set period, it shall be deemed withdrawn.

 

 

Article 63

Information recorded  in the Register

 

The following shall be recorded in the Register: name of the religious organisation, file number and date of the decision to record and the date of recording, seat and address, name and function of an officer authorised to represent the organisation, information on religious schools and humanitarian organisations founded by the religious organisation.

 

Two or more religious organisation with the same name may not be recorded in the Register.

 

Article 64

Legal status and rights of new religious organisations

 

New religious organisations registered pursuant to provisions of this Law have the same legal status and same rights as religious organisations that are automatically recorded in the Register of religious organisations pursuant to the recognised continuity of legal subjectivity.

 

Article 65

Deleting from the Register

 

A religious organisation may be deleted from the Register if its religious teaching or practical activity:

-         exacerbate racial, national or religious hatred, anti-Semitism, and other form of intolerance аnd discrimination;

-         systematically destroys families;

-         endangers health of its members by instigating the use of narcotic or psychotropic substances or otherwise disrupts an individual's spiritual integrity and personal freedom.

The relevant ministry may issue the decision specified in paragraph 1 of this Article only on basis of effective and final decision of a competent court determining the existence of any of the circumstances specified in the above paragraph.

 

 

XIII - TRANSITIONAL AND FINAL PROVISIONS

 

Article 66

 

After this Law comes into force, every religious organisation acquires the right to conclude separate and individual agreements with the state to concretize its guaranteed rights.

 

Until such a time, the Ministry of Religions and the Ministry of Education shall extend constant financial, professional and administrative assistance for the meeting of verification standards.      

 

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[1] Transl. remark: this term is used to describe ecclesiastical officials, whether Christian, Muslim, Jewish or other.

[2] Transl. remark: the word cleric in the context of this law refers to non-ordained members of a religious organization i.e supporting staff.