Imágenes de páginas

6. Seven years later the Constitution of 1869 disappeared again, in order to give place to a new charter, which was proclaimed on 6/18 April 1901. This Constitution contained a great innovation, namely, the institution of a Senate. On 2 June 1903 the national representation decreed unanimously that the Constitution of 1888 be put back into force and proclaimed Peter Karageorgevitch King of Serbia as Peter I.

7. On 5/18 June 1903 there appeared in the official journal the Constitution adopted by the national representation with the modifications and additions rendered necessary by the change of dynasty. In the main this Constitution reproduces almost word for word that of 1888. The ephemeral institution of a Senate disappeared with the Constitution of 1901.2





ARTICLE 1. The Kingdom of Serbia is an hereditary and constitutional monarchy with national representation.

Art. 2. The arms of the Kingdom of Serbia are the spread eagle of silver on an escutcheon of gules with the royal crown.

The two heads of the eagle of silver are surmounted by the royal crown; each talon holds a fleur-de-lis. The eagle bears on his breast the arms of the Principality of Serbia, “a cross of silver on a field of gules with a gun between each of the four branches."

The national colors are red, blue and white.

ART. 3. The State religion of Serbia is the Eastern Orthodox Religion.

The Serbian Church is autocephalous. It is not dependent on any foreign Church; it always preserves dogmatic unity with the Universal Eastern Church.

ART. 4. The territory of the Serbian State can be neither alienated nor divided.

Its limits can be neither diminished nor modified without the assent of the Grand National Skupshtina. But in what concerns the rec

1 French translation in the British and Foreign State Papers, 94: pp. 199–217. German translation in Paul POSENER, Die Staatsverfassungen des Erdballs (Charlottenburg, 1909), pp. 863-879.

· These introductory paragraphs are based upon F. R. DARESTE ET P. DARESTE, Les Constitutions modernes (3d edition, Paris, 1910), vol. II, pp. 257–259.

3 This Constitution is based on the Constitution of 22 December 1888/3 January 1889 and is like it except as indicated in the footnotes. Translated by Oris G. STANTON from the French translation of the Constitution of 1888 in the British and Foreign State Paper8, 81: pp. 508-540, and from the French translation of the modifications of 1903 in the British and Foreign State Papers, 108: pp. 566-574. See also the Annuaire de légis. lation étrangère, 18 (1888): p. 838, and 33 (1903): p. 601. French translation of the Constitution of 1903 also in DARESTE, op. cit., pp. 259-293.

- The name of the National Assembly.

tifications of frontiers of the territories not populated and of little importance, the assent of the Ordinary National Skupshtina is sufficient.

ART. 5.1 The Kingdom of Serbia is divided into departments (okrug), the departments into arondissements (srez) and the latter into communes (opshtina).


ART. 6. The present Constitution and the laws determine the modes of acquisition of and of retirement from the character of Serbian citizen, the rights which are attached to this quality and the causes which provoke its loss.

ART. 7. All Serbians are equal before the law.

ART. 8. It is forbidden to grant titles of nobility to Serbian citizens or to recognize them.

Art. 9. Individual liberty is guaranteed by the present Constitution.

No one may be subjected to an examination [by the public authority) except in cases provided by the law and in the forms prescribed

by it.

No one may be placed in a state of arrest, nor be deprived in any other manner of his liberty, except by virtue of a written warrant with reasons therefor from the examining magistrate. This warrant must be communicated to the person arrested at the very moment of arrest. Only culprits surprised in flagrante delicto may be arrested without any prior warrant, but even then a written report shall be drawn up and shall be communicated to them within 24 hours from the moment of arrest.

The person arrested has the right to lodge a complaint before the tribunal of first instance against the warrant concerning his arrest. If he does not make use of this right within three days from the communication of the warrant to bring him in or the report of the arrest, the examining magistrate shall be obliged to transmit officially the papers in the case to the competent tribunal within the 24 hours following the expiration of the first period. The tribunal is then required to pronounce the maintenance or the annulling of the arrest within a new period of 24 hours. The decisions of the tribunal on these questions are immediately executory.

Agents of the public authority who shall have infringed these provisions shall be punished for illegal attempt on liberty.

The law shall determine the circumstances in which the tribunals shall be required to set the person arrested at temporary liberty with or without personal or pecuniary bail.2

1 As amended, 5/18 June 1903.

2 A law of 31 January/13 February 1905 on public safety conferred on the Minister of the Interior exceptional powers to repress brigandage; see the Annuaire de législation étrangère, 36 (1906) : p. 548.


ART. 10. No one can be tried by an incompetent tribunal.

ART. 11. No one can be tried without being previously examined by the competent authority, or invited in the legal way to defend himself.

ART. 12. Penalties can not be established except by law, applied except to subsequent acts formally provided for by law.

ART. 13. The penalty of death is abolished in the matters of crimes purely political.

It is maintained for cases of accomplished or attempted attack against the person of the King or of the members of the Royal House, cases to which the Penal Code applies this penalty.

It is likewise maintained in the matter of mixed crimes, conformably to the provisions of the Penal Code, as well as for the cases provided for by the military laws.

Art. 14. Serbian citizens can not be expelled from Serbia. Also residence in a locality can not be forbidden to them, nor can they be obliged to settle in a determined place except in cases expressly provided for by law.

ART. 15. Private domicile is inviolable.

The public authority can not proceed to any domiciliary visit except in the cases provided for by law and following the forms prescribed by it.

Before the domicilary visit, the competent authority is required to communicate to the interested party the written order from the examining magistrate authorizing this measure. The interested party may attack this order before the tribunal of first instance, without being able, however, to suspend in this way the execution of the visit. The visit can be effected only in the presence of two Serbian citizens.

After the domiciliary visit has been made, the authority is required to send to the interested party a certificate stating the result obtained and a signed report enumerating the objects seized in view of the pursuit of the inquiry.1

ART. 16. Property of every kind is inviolable.

No one can be constrained to yield his goods to the State or to other public moral persons, nor to undergo any restriction in their favor, except in cases established by law and in consideration of a legal indemnity.

Art. 17. The penalty of general confiscation of property is forbidden.

However, objects arising from a fraudulent source or objects having served or destined to serve in the accomplishment of a crime can be confiscated.

“In no case can the domi

1 The following paragraph was omitted, 5/18 June 1903 : ciliary visit take place at night."

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ART. 18. Liberty of conscience is absolute.

All recognized cults are free and placed under the protection of the law, so far as their celebration does not infringe upon the public order or morals.

ART. 19. Every act which can infringe upon the State religion [proselytism) is forbidden.

ART. 20. Serbian citizens can not take advantage of religious precepts with a view to avoid the fulfilment of their duties as citizens and soldiers.

ART. 21. Education is free in so far as it is not contrary to public order and morals.

Primary instruction is obligatory. It is gratuitous in the public primary schools.

ART. 22. Every Serbian has the right freely to express his thought by word, in writing, by way of the press or by images, while conforming to the prescriptions of the law."

The press is free.

Censorship, as well as every other preventive measure intended to shackle the publication, sale or distribution of journals and other writings, is forbidden.

The publication of journals is not subjected to any prior authorization.

No bond shall be exacted of the author, the editor-in-chief, the publisher or the printer.

The seizure of journals and other printed matter is authorized only in cases where they shall contain outrages towards the King or the Royal House, or towards foreign sovereigns and their houses, as well as in cases where incitement to rebellion is found therein. In all these cases, the authorities are required to bring the affair before the tribunal within 24 hours after the seizure has been made and the latter is required to pronounce within a like period the confirmation or the abandoning of the seizure. In the contrary case, the seizure is, at the expiration of this last period of 24 hours, abandoned ipso facto.

It is forbidden to address administrative warnings to printed publications.

Journals are required to have a responsible editor, enjoying his civil and policital rights.

The author is responsible in the first place. If the author is unknown, or if he does not live in Serbia, or if he is irresponsible, the responsibility falls on the editor, the printer or the distributor.

ART. 23. The privacy of letters and of telegraphic despatches is inviolable, except in time of war and in the case of criminal inquiry.

* Law of 12/25 January 1904 on the press, modified by the law of 9/22 December 1904.

A law shall determine what government agents are responsible for the violation of the privacy of letters and despatches entrusted to the bureaus of the post and the telegraph.

ART. 24. Serbians have the right to meet peaceably and without arms if they conform to the laws.

It is not necessary to advise the authorities in order to hold a meeting in a closed place. Meetings in the open air, which are subject to laws and special regulations, can not be held unless the authorities be previously advised thereof.

ART. 25. Serbians have the right to associate themselves for purposes which are not contrary to the law.

This right can not be subjected to any preventive measure.

Art. 26. Every Serbian has the right to address himself in his own name to the public authorities by petitions bearing one or several signatures. Petitions in the collective name can emanate only from the constituted authorities and from civil persons [corporations].

Art. 27. Every Serbian has the right to bring complaint against the illegal actions of the authorities.

If the superior authority rejects the complaint as being illfounded, it is required, in communicating its decision to the complainant, to indicate the reasons therefor.

ART. 28. Every Serbian has the right to enter a judicial suit, without any previous authorization, against public functionaries, mayors, presidents of municipal councils and communal employes who have injured his rights in the exercise of their power.

Special provisions are applicable in this regard to ministers, judges and soldiers with the colors under the flag.

ART. 29. Serbians are free to renounce their nationality, after having satisfied the military service and fulfilled all their obligations as well to the State as to individuals.

ART. 30. Foreigners living in Serbia are placed under the protection of the Serbian laws as to their persons and their possessions. But they are compelled to pay imposts and other charges for the benefit of the State and of the commune, unless they be exempted by international treaties.

Art. 31. Extradition is forbidden in the matter of crimes purely political


ART. 32. All the powers of the State are exercised conformably to the provisions of the present Constitution.

The Constitution can not be suspended either in whole or in any of its parts.

1 Law of 31 March/12 April 1891 on public assemblies and associations.

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