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THE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CODE 

(excerpts)

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Presumption of Innocence
Article 3
Everyone is considered innocent until proven guilty by a final decision of the court.
Public and other authorities and organisations, the information media, associations and
public figures are required to adhere to the rules referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article, as well
as to abstain from violating the rights of the defendant with their public statements on the
defendant, the criminal offence and the proceedings.


Ne bis in idem
Article 4
No one may be prosecuted in connection with a criminal offence for which he has been
acquitted or convicted by a final decision of a court, or for which the indictment has been denied
by a final decision, or where the proceedings have been discontinued by a final decision.
A final court decision may not be revised to the detriment of the defendant.

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Advice of Rights
Article 8
The authority conducting proceedings is required to advise the defendant or other
participant in the proceedings, in accordance with the provisions of this Code, about the rights to
which they are entitled.
Where a defendant or other participant in the proceedings might omit to perform an
action or fail to exercise a right due to ignorance, the authority conducting proceedings is
required to caution him about the consequences of the omission.


Prohibition of Torture, Inhumane Treatment and Coercion
Article 9
Any use of torture, inhumane and degrading treatment, force, threats, coercion,
deception, medical procedures and other means affecting the free will or extorting a confession
or other statement or action by a defendant or other participant in proceedings is prohibited and
punishable.


Restrictions of the Liberties and Rights of Defendants in Proceedings
Article 10
Before the issuance of a final decision pronouncing a criminal sanction, the rights and
liberties of a defendant may be restricted only to the extent necessary for realising the aim of the
proceedings, under the conditions prescribed by this Code.
The fact that an investigation is being undertaken against a person shall be communicated
by the public prosecutor only to a court upon its request, to another public prosecutor or the
police, and to the defendant, defence counsel or the injured party only where the requirements
prescribed by Article 297 of this Code are fulfilled.
Where it is prescribed that institution of criminal proceedings results in the restriction of
certain liberties and rights, the restriction has effect from:
1) the confirmation of the indictment;
2) the scheduling of a trial or hearing for pronouncing a criminal sanction in summary
proceedings;
3) the scheduling of a trial in proceedings for pronouncing a security measure of
compulsory psychiatric treatment.
The court shall within three days of issuing its decision notify ex officio the authority or
employer where the defendant is employed of the circumstances referred to in paragraph 3 items
1) to 3) of this Article or the placement of the defendant in detention. The court will
communicate these facts to the defendant and his defence counsel at their request.


The Language and Script Used in Proceedings
Article 11
The Serbian language and the Cyrillic script are in official use in proceedings, and other
languages and scripts are in official use in accordance with the Constitution and the law.
Proceedings are conducted in the language and script in official use in the authority
conducting proceedings, in accordance with the law.
Parties, witnesses and other persons participating in proceedings are entitled to use their
own languages and scripts during proceedings, and, where proceedings are not being conducted
in their language and unless, after being advised on their right to translation, they declare that
they know the language in which the proceedings are being conducted and that they waive their
right to translation, the interpretation of what they or others are saying, as well as translation of
instruments and other written evidence, are secured and paid from budget funds.
Translation and interpretation is entrusted to a translator.


Authorisation to Pronounce Criminal Sanctions
Article 12
Only a competent court may pronounce a criminal sanction to the perpetrator of a
criminal offence in criminal proceedings instituted and conducted in accordance with this Code.


The Defendant’s Presence in Court
Article 13
A defendant accessible to the court may be tried only in his presence, except where in
absentia trials are exceptionally allowed under this Code.
A criminal sanction may not be pronounced to a defendant who is accessible to the court
if that defendant has not been allowed to be heard and to defend himself.


Trial within a Reasonable Time
Article 14
Courts are required to conduct criminal proceedings without delays and to prevent all
abuses of law aimed at delaying proceedings.
Criminal proceedings against a defendant who is in detention are urgent.


Evidentiary Actions
Article 15
Evidence is collected and examined in accordance with this Code.
The burden of proof is on the prosecutor.
The court examines evidence upon motions by the parties.
The court may order a party to propose additional evidence, or, exceptionally, order such
evidence to be examined, if it finds that the evidence that has been examined is contradictory or
unclear, and finds such action necessary in order to comprehensively examine the subject of the
evidentiary action.


Assessing Evidence and Finding of Fact
Article 16
Court decisions may not be based on evidence which is, directly or indirectly, in itself or
by the manner in which it was obtained, in contravention of the Constitution, this Code, other
statute or universally accepted rules of international law and ratified international treaties, except
in court proceedings in connection with the obtaining of such evidence.
The court is required to make an impartial assessment of the evidence examined and based on the
evidence to establish with equal care both the facts against the defendant and the facts which are
in his favour.
The court assesses the evidence examined which is of importance for rendering a
decision at its discretion.
The court may base its judgment, or ruling corresponding to a judgment, only on facts of
whose certainty it is convinced.
In case it has any doubts about the facts on which the conduct of criminal proceedings
depends, the existence of the elements of a criminal offence, or application of another provision
of criminal law, in its judgment, or ruling corresponding to a judgment, the court rules in favour
of the defendant.

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Chapter VI
THE DEFENDANT AND DEFENCE COUNSEL
1 The Defendant
The Defendant’s Rights

Article 68
The defendant is entitled:
1) to be informed in the shortest possible time, and always before the first interrogation,
in detail and in a language he understands, about the charges against him, the nature and grounds
of the accusation, as well as that everything he says may be used as evidence in proceedings;
2) not to say anything, to refrain from answering a certain question, to present his defence
freely, to admit or not to admit his culpability;
3) to defend himself on his own or with the professional assistance of a defence counsel,
in accordance with the provisions of this Code;
4) to have a defence counsel attend his interrogation;
5) to be taken before a court in the shortest possible time and to be tried in an impartial
and fair manner and in a reasonable time;
6) to read immediately before his first interrogation the criminal complaint, the crime
scene report, and the findings and opinions of a expert witnesses;
7) to be given sufficient time and opportunity to prepare his defence;
8) to examine documents contained in the case file and objects serving as evidence;
9) to collect evidence for his own defence;
10) to state his position in relation to all the facts and evidence against him and to present
facts and evidence in his favour, to question witnesses for the prosecution and to demand that
witnesses for the defence be questioned in his presence, under the same conditions as the
witnesses for the prosecution ;
11) to make use of legal instruments and legal remedies;
12) to perform other actions where provided for by this Code.
The authority conducting the proceedings is required to advise the defendant before his
first interrogation of the rights referred to in paragraph 1, items s 2) to 4) and item 6) of this
Article.


Rights of Persons Arrested
Article 69
Besides the rights referred to in Article 68 paragraph 1, items 2) to 4) and item 6), and
paragraph 2 of this Code, a person arrested is entitled to:
1) be informed immediately in a language he understands of the reason for his arrest;
2) have before his first interrogation a confidential conversation with his defence counsel,
which can be supervised only visually, but not by way of listening;
3) demand that a family member or other person close to him be notified without delay
about his arrest, as well as a diplomatic and consular representative of the state of which he is a
national, or a representative of an authorised organisation of international public law, in case of a
refugee or a stateless person;
4) demand that he be examined without delay by a physician of his own choosing, and if
that physician is not accessible, by a physician designated by the public prosecutor or the court.
A person arrested without a court decision, or a person who has been arrested on the basis
of a court decision but not interrogated, must without delay, and within 48 hours at most, be
handed over to the competent judge for the preliminary proceedings, or, if this is not done, must
be released from custody.


Duties of a Defendant
Article 70
A defendant is required to:
1) respond to a summons from the authority conducting proceedings;
2) notify the authority conducting proceedings about the change of his temporary or
permanent residence, or about his intention to change his temporary or permanent residence.
2. Defence Counsel


Rights of the Defence Counsel
Article 71
The defence counsel is entitled to:
1) conduct a confidential conversation with the arrested person before his first
interrogation (Article 69 paragraph 1 item 2));
2) read the criminal complaint, crime scene report and expert witness’ finding and
opinion, immediately before the first interrogation of the suspect;
3) examine case file documents and objects serving as evidence, after the issuance of an
order on conducting an investigation or after an indictment was filled directly (Article 331
paragraph 5); and also before that time if the defendant had been interrogated in accordance with
the provisions of this Code;
4) have confidential conversations with the defendant who is in custody (Article 69
paragraph 1 item 2)) and to engage in unimpeded correspondence, unless otherwise provided by
this Code ;
5) perform on behalf of the defendant all the actions to which the defendant is entitled;
6) perform other actions where provided for by this Code.


Duties of the Defence Counsel
Article 72
The defence counsel is required to:
1) submit his power of attorney without delay to the authority conducting proceedings;
2) provide to the defendant assistance with his defence in a professional, conscientious
and timely manner;
3) refrain from abusing rights in order to delay the proceedings;
4) advise the defendant about the consequences of waiving rights;
5) provide legal assistance to the defendant within 30 days from the date when he
revoked the power of attorney, unless a defence counsel is selected before the expiry of that time
limit in accordance with Article 75 paragraph 1 of this Code.
Where a defendant declares to the authority conducting proceedings that he refuses a
court appointed defence counsel and that he wants to conduct his own defence, the court
appointed defence counsel is required to:
1) be informed about the content of evidentiary actions and the content and course of the
trial;
2) provide explanation and advice to the defendant in writing, if the defendant refuses to
talk to him;
3) attend procedural actions, as well as to present closing arguments, unless the defendant
is expressly opposed to that;
4) file an ordinary legal remedy and perform other procedural actions at the request of the
defendant, or with his express consent.


Capacity to Act as Defence Counsel
Article 73
Only an attorney may be a defence counsel
In proceedings in connection to criminal offences punishable by a term of imprisonment
of ten or more years only an attorney with at least five years of experience as an attorney, or an
attorney who was a judge, public prosecutor or deputy public prosecutor for at least five years
may act as a defence counsel.
The following cannot be a defence counsel:
1) co-defendant, injured party, spouse or person who lives with the co-defendant, injured
party or the prosecutor in a common law marriage or other permanent personal association, their
relative by blood in direct line to any degree, or in collateral line to the fourth degree, or an inlaw
to the second degree;
2) persons summoned to the trial as witnesses, except if under this Code they may not be
questioned as witnesses, or have been freed from the duty to testify and have duly declared that
they will not testify;
3) persons who had in the same case acted as judge, public prosecutor, representative of
an injured party, police officer, or other persons who had performed actions in the preinvestigation
proceedings;
4) defence counsel of co-defendant charged in the same case with the same criminal
offence, unless the authority conducting proceedings concludes that it would not be detrimental
to the interests of the defence.

Mandatory Defence
Article 74
The defendant must have a defence counsel:
1) if he is mute, deaf, blind or incapable to conduct his own defence successfully – from
the first interrogation until the final conclusion of the criminal proceedings;
2) if the proceedings are being conducted in connection with a criminal offence
punishable by a term of imprisonment of eight years or more – from the first interrogation until
the final conclusion of the criminal proceedings;
3) if he has been taken into custody, or prohibited from leaving his abode, or is in
detention – from the moment of deprivation of liberty until the ruling discontinuing the measure
becomes final;
4) if he is being tried in absentia – from the issuance of a ruling on an in absentia trial
and for the duration of such trial;
5) if the trial is being held in his absence due to reasons he himself induced – from the
issuance of a ruling for the trial to be held in absentia until the ruling by which the court
establishes that reasons for his inability to stand trial have ceased becomes final;
6) if he has been removed from the courtroom for disturbing the order, until the
conclusion of the evidentiary procedure or the termination of the trial – from the issuance of the
order on his removal until his return to the courtroom or the pronouncement of the judgment;
7) if proceedings for pronouncing a security measure of compulsory psychiatric treatment
are being conducted against him – from the submission of a motion for pronouncing such a
measure until the issuance of the decision referred to in Article 526 paragraphs 2 and 3 of this
Code or until the ruling pronouncing a security measure of compulsory psychiatric treatment
becomes final;
8) from the beginning of the negotiations with the public prosecutor on the conclusion of
the agreement referred to in Article 313 paragraph 1, Article 320 paragraph 1 and Article 327
paragraph 1 of this Code, until the issuance of a court decision on the agreement;
9) if the trial is held in his absence (Article 449 paragraph 3) – from the moment of
adoption of the ruling to hold the trial in his absence, to the adoption of the judicial decision on
the appeal against the judgment.


Defence Counsel of Choice
Article 75
One or several defence counsel may be chosen and authorised with a power of attorney
by the defendant, his legal representative, spouse, lineal relative by blood, adopter, adoptee,
sibling, foster-parent or person with whom the defendant lives in a common law marriage or
other permanent personal association, except where the defendant is expressly opposed to this.
A defendant may grant a defence counsel an oral power of attorney by a declaration
given on the record with the authority conducting proceedings.


Court Appointed Defence Counsel
Article 76
If in the cases referred to in Article 74 of this Code no defence counsel is chosen, or the
defendant is left without a defence counsel during the criminal proceedings, or in the case
referred to in Article 73 paragraph 3 item 4) of this Code, in case of mandatory defence, he fails
to agree with co-defendants on a defence counsel or does not select another defence counsel, the
public prosecutor or the president of the court before which the proceedings are being conducted
shall issue a ruling appointing a court appointed defence counsel for the remaining part of the
proceedings, according to the order on the roster of attorneys provided by the competent bar
association.
The bar association is required to specify the date of registration of the attorney in the list
of attorneys referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article and in compiling the list to take into
account the fact that the practical or professional work of an attorney in the area of criminal law
provides a foundation for an assumption that the defence will be effective.
A court appointed defence counsel may seek his recusal only on justifiable grounds.
The list referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article is posted on the webpages and notice
boards of the competent bar association and the court.


Defence of Indigent Persons
Article 77
A defence counsel shall be appointed for a defendant who because of his financial status
cannot afford to pay the fees and costs of the defence counsel at the defendant’s request although
the reasons for mandatory defence do not exist if the criminal proceedings are being conducted
in connection with a criminal offence punishable by a term of imprisonment of over three years,
or where reasons of fairness so demand. In this case, the costs of defence shall be borne by the
budget of the court.
The judge for preliminary proceedings, president of a trial panel or individual judge
decides on the request referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article, and the defence counsel is
appointed by a ruling issued by the president of the court before which the proceedings are being
conducted, according to the order on the roster of attorneys provided by the competent bar
association.
The appointed defence counsel referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article has the standing
of a court appointed defence counsel.


Joint Defence Counsel and Several Defence Counsel
Article 78
Several defendants in the same case may have a common defence counsel only where
that would not hinder the professional, conscientious and timely provision of legal assistance
with their defence.
Where several defendants have a common defence counsel in contravention of paragraph
1 of this Article or Article 73 paragraph 3 item 4) of this Code, the authority conducting
proceedings will invite them to agree within three days which of them would be defended by the
defence counsel who defended all of them up until that point, or for each of them to choose a
different defence counsel. If they do not do so in the case of mandatory defence, a court
appointed defence counsel will be appointed for them.
One defendant may have a maximum of five defence counsel in one proceeding, and it
will be considered that defence has been secured when one of the defence counsel is
participating in proceedings.
Where one defendant has more than five defence counsel, the authority conducting
proceedings will invite him to choose within three days which defence counsel he will retain, and
caution him that if he fails to do so, the first five attorneys pursuant to the order of submission of
their powers of attorney or provision thereof on the record will be deemed his defence counsel.

Termination of the Rights and Duties of Defence Counsel
Article 79
The rights and duties of defence counsel are terminated:
1) if the power of attorney is withdrawn or cancelled;
2) if the defence counsel is disqualified.


Reasons for disqualifying the defense counsel
Article 80
A defence counsel of choice shall be disqualified if:
1) any of the reasons referred to in Article 73 paragraph 3 of this Code exists;
2) after being cautioned and fined he continues to disturb the order in the court;
3) criminal proceedings are instituted against him based on grounded suspicion that in
connection with the same case he had committed the criminal offence of preventing and
obstructing evidentiary actions or escape or assisted escape of a person deprived of liberty;
4) he has been re-granted a power of attorney after its withdrawal or cancelation, as an
obvious abuse of the law (Article 14 paragraph 1);
5) a common defence counsel is concerned and the defendants do not act in accordance
with Article 78 paragraph 2 of this Code;
6) a defendant who has more than five defence counsel fails to decide which defence
counsel to retain (Article 78 paragraph 4).
Besides the reasons referred to in paragraph 1 items 1) to 3) of this Article, a court
appointed defence counsel will be relieved of duty if:
1) the defendant or person referred to in Article 75 paragraph 1 of this Code retains
another defence counsel;
2) he fails to perform the duty referred to in Article 72 paragraph 1 item 2) of this Code;
3) due to a change of the financial status of the defendant the reasons for the defence
based on indigence have ceased to exist (Article 77 paragraph 1).


Decision on disqualifying
Article 81
Acting upon a proposal of the public prosecutor or ex officio, the judge for the
preliminary procedure, the president of the trial panel, the trial panel or an individual judge
decides on motions to relieve the defence counsel of duty.
Before issuing its decision, the court is required to invite the defendant and the defence
counsel to state their position in relation to the reasons for disqualifying the defence counsel of
within no more than 24 hours, and to substantiate their assertions with evidence, and to caution
them that if they fail to provide declarations or substantiate them, the decision would be made on
the basis of available data.
An appeal against a ruling on disqualification a defence counsel does not stay its
execution.
The ruling on disqualification of a defence counsel on the grounds specified in Article 80
paragraph 1 item 1) of this Code is not appealable.
The public prosecutor or the president of the court notifies the competent bar association
about disqualification of a defence council of duty on the grounds specified in Article 80
paragraph 1 items 2) to 4), and paragraph 2 item 2) of this Code.

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