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CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA

(excerpts)

 

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Treatment of persons deprived of liberty

Article 28

Persons deprived of liberty must be treated humanely and with respect to dignity of their person.

Any violence towards persons deprived of liberty shall be prohibited.

Extorting a statement shall be prohibited.

 

Special Rights in Case of Arrest and Detention without Decision of the Court

Article 29

Any person deprived of liberty without decision of the court shall be informed promptly about the right to remain silent and about the right to be questioned only in the presence of a defense counsel they chose or a defense counsel who will provide legal assistance free of charge if they are unable to pay for it.

Any person deprived of liberty without a decision of the court must be brought before the competent court without delay and not later than 48 hours, otherwise they shall be released.

 

Detention

Article 30

Any person under reasonable doubt of committing a crime may be remanded to detention only upon the decision of the court, should detention be necessary to conduct criminal proceedings.

If the detainee has not been questioned when making a decision on detention or if the decision on holding in detention has not been carried out immediately after the pronouncement, the detainee must be brought before the competent court within 48 hours from the time of sending to detention which shall reconsider the decision on detention.

A written decision of the court with explanation for reasons of detention shall be delivered to the detainee not later than 12 hours after pronouncing. The court shall decide on the appeal to decision detention and deliver it to the detainee within 48 hours.

 

Duration of detention

Article 31

The court shall reduce the duration of detention to the shortest period possible, keeping in mind the grounds for detention. Sentencing to detention under a decision of the court of first instance shall not exceed three months during investigation, whereas higher court may extend it for another three months, in accordance with the law. If the indictment is not raised by the expiration of the said period, the detainee shall be released.

The court shall reduce the duration of detention after the bringing of charges to the shortest possible period, in accordance with the law.

Detainee shall be allowed pre-trial release as soon as grounds for remanding to detention cease to exist.

 

Right to a fair trial

Article 32

Everyone shall have the right to a public hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal established by the law within reasonable time which shall pronounce judgement on their rights and obligations, grounds for suspicion resulting in initiated procedure and accusations brought against them.

Everyone shall be guaranteed the right to free assistance of an interpreter if the person does not speak or understand the language officially used in the court and the right to free assistance of an interpreter if the person is blind, deaf, or dumb.

The press and public may be excluded from all or part of the court procedure only in the interest of protecting national security, public order and morals in a democratic society, interests of juveniles or the protection of private life of the parties, in accordance with the law.

 

Special rights of persons charged with criminal offense

Article 33

Any person charged with criminal offense shall have the right to be informed promptly, in accordance with the law, in the language which this person understands and in detail about the nature and cause of the accusation against him, as well as the evidence against him.

Any person charged with criminal offense shall have the right to defend himself personally or through legal counsel of his own choosing, to contact his legal counsel freely and to be allowed adequate time and facilities for preparing his defense.

Any person charged with criminal offense without sufficient means to pay for legal counsel shall have the right to a free legal counsel when the interests of justice so require and in compliance with the law.

Any person charged with criminal offense available to the court shall have the right to a trial in his presence and may not be sentenced unless he has been given the opportunity to a hearing and defense.

Any person prosecuted for criminal offense shall have the right to present evidence in his favour by himself or through his legal counsel, to examine witnesses against him and demand that witnesses on his behalf be examined under the same conditions as the witnesses against him and in his presence.

Any person prosecuted for criminal offense shall have the right to a trial without undue delay.

Any person charged or prosecuted for criminal offense shall not be obligated to provide self-incriminating evidence or evidence to the prejudice of persons related to him, nor shall he be obliged to confess guilt.

Any other natural person prosecuted for other offences punishable by law shall have all the rights of a person charged with criminal offense pursuant to the law and in accordance with it.

 

Legal certainty in criminal law

Article 34

No person may be held guilty for any act which did not constitute a criminal offence under law or any other regulation based on the law at the time when it was committed, nor shall a penalty be imposed  which was not prescribed for this act .

The penalties shall be determined pursuant to a regulation in force at the time when the act was committed, save when subsequent regulation is more lenient for the perpetrator. Criminal offences and penalties shall be laid down by the law.

Everyone shall be presumed innocent for a criminal offence until convicted by a final judgement of the court.

No person may be prosecuted or sentenced for a criminal offence for which he has been acquitted or convicted by a final judgement, for which the charges have been rejected or criminal proceedings dismissed by final judgement, nor may court ruling be altered to the detriment of a person charged with criminal offence by extraordinary legal remedy. The same prohibitions shall be applicable to all other proceedings conducted for any other act punishable by law.

In special cases, reopening of proceedings shall be allowed in accordance with criminal legislation if evidence is presented about new facts which could have influenced significantly the outcome of proceedings had they been disclosed at the time of the trial, or if serious miscarriage of justice occurred in the previous proceedings which might have influenced its outcome.

Criminal prosecution or execution of punishment for a war crime, genocide, or crime against humanity shall not be subject to statute of limitation.

 

Right to rehabilitation and compensation 

Article 35

Any person deprived of liberty, detained or convicted for a criminal offence without grounds or unlawfully shall have the right to rehabilitation and compensation of damage by the Republic of Serbia, as well as other rights stipulated by the law.

Everyone shall have the right to compensation of material or non-material damage inflicted on him by unlawful or irregular work of a state body, entities exercising public powers, bodies of the autonomous province or local self-government.

The law shall stipulate conditions under which the injured party may demand compensation for damage directly from the person that inflicted the damage.

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