Đorđe Marković

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Faculty of Law, University of Belgrade

ON JURISDICTION FOR ADOPTION OF MEASURES DURING THE STATE OF EMERGENCY – ON THE OCCASION OF THE DECISION OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF SERBIA

In March 2021, a state of emergency was declared in the Republic of Serbia due to the appearance of the corona virus. Since the National Assembly could not convene, the Government of the Republic of Serbia, with the President of the Republic as a co-signature, issued a decree prescribing measures derogating from human and minority rights, in order to deal with the epidemic as efficiently as possible. A few days later, based on the powers contained in the decree, the Minister of the Interior issued an order specifying the restrictions contained in the Decree. In October 2020, the Constitutional Court of Serbia assessed the constitutionality of the mentioned decree. According to Art. 2 of the decre, the government in fact, only prescribed restrictive measures in general, leaving a wide field of discretionary decision-making to the Minister of the Interior. In this article, we came to the conclusion that the government, with the consent of the President of the Republic, had to fully anticipate and prescribe measures to deviate from the constitutionally guaranteed human and minority rights, and that nothing should be left to be done by any other institution. Therefore, the Constitutional Court had to declare the unconstitutionality of the decree and to determine that the government, with the consent of the President of the Republic, went beyond the scope of its constitutional powers. Since the Constitutional Court failed to do so, it contributed to bringing the Serbian emergency governance legal setting closer to the so-called Neo-Schmittian model, in which the executive takes precedence over the other authorities. Finally, we have offered interpretations of vague constitutional provisions, and pointed out possible directions for some future constitutional change concerning the state of emergency in the Republic of Serbia.

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