Tema broja


Constitutional Court in the Process of Building of a Rechtsstaat


In this paper the author examines the role the constitutional court plays in the democratization process. The constitutionalization of the polity is one of the core elements of the democratic transformation in which the institutional framework for the coupling of the law and the politics is set, and the boundaries of the state’s intervention in the individual freedoms and liberties are defined. Yet the constitution as a legal text is not sufficient for the establishment of a substantive constitutionalism, but it can serve as a façade for a pseudo-democratic order. In order to underpin the rule of law, to prevent the concentration of (political) power, and to protect human rights, most states that have undergone the democratization process have established a constitutional court. Subject to the condition that the constitutional court enjoys sufficient guaranties for institutional stability, legitimacy, and political neutrality, it can be a progressive and stabilizing player in the democratization process. Yet the court must attain a balance with respect to the political effects of its decisions, and not to intervene in the discretional areas of policy-making. Ultimately the implementation of the constitutional court’s decisions depends on the political elite for a rationale for why court acts strategically and with self-restraint. In Serbia the power of the constitutional court to influence the democratization process is burden with some difficulties. There have been constant blocks and delays in the appointment of the court’s judges, with the court becoming fully operational not until 2010. Given the low degree of legitimacy and authority of the Serbian constitution, it is very difficult for the constitutional court to impose the authority of the constitution to the political players. Yet the constitutional court occasionally delivers decisions that influence the transformation process. Nevertheless, the implementation of the court’s decisions is selective.

Ključne reči:


    1. Belančić, M. (2001) “Democratic Changes and Resistance”. In: Spasić, I., Subotić, M. (eds.) “Revolution and Order. Serbia after October 2000”. Belgrade: Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory. pp. 205-213.
    2. Boulanger, C. (2006) “Europeanization Through Judicial Activism? The Hungarian Constitutional Court’s Legitimacy and the ‘Return to Europe’“. In: Sadurski, W., Czarnota, A., Kryger, M. (eds.) “Spreading Democracy and the Rule of Law? The Impact of EU Enlargement on the Rule of Law, Democracy and Constitutionalism in Post-Communist Legal Orders“, Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 263-280.
    3. Diamond, L. (2002) “Assessing Global Democratization a Decade after the Communist Colapse”, Romanian Journal of Political Science, 2(2): 4-15.
    4. Dimitrijević, N. (2002) “Ustavna demokratija za Jugoslaviju: između reforme i revolucije”. In: Vujadinović, D., Veljak, L., Goati, V., Pavićević, V. (eds.) “Između autoritarizma i demokratije: Srbija, Crna Gora i Hrvatska. Knjiga I Institucionalni okvir. Beograd: Cedet. pp. 19-47.  
    5. Dimitrijević, N. (2004) “Srbija kao nedovršena država”. In: Vujadinović, D., Veljak, L., Goati, V., Pavićević, V. (eds.) “Između autoritarizma i demokratije: Srbija, Crna Gora i Hrvatska. Knjiga II Civilno društvo i politička kultura”. Beograd: Cedet. pp. 57-71.
    6. Epstein, L., Knight, J., Shvetsova, O. (2001) “The Role of Constitutional Courts in the Establishment and Maintenance of Democratic Systems of Government”, Law&Society Review, 35(1): 117-164.
    7. Galič, A. (2002) “Das Slowenische Verfassungsgericht im Transformationsprozess: Selbstbeschränkung oder richterrlicher Aktivismus?”. In: Boulanger, C. (ed.) “Recht in der Transformation. Rechts- und Verfassungswandel in Mittel- und Osteuropa: Beiträge zur Debatte”. Berlin: Berliner Debatte Wissenschaftsverlag. pp. 215-232.
    8. Grimm, D. (2010) “The Achievement of Constitutionalism and its Prospects in a Changed World”. In: Dobner, P., Loughlin, M. (eds.) “The Twilight of Constitutionalism?”. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 3-22.
    9. Grabenwarter, C. (2011) “Separation of Powers and the Independence of Constitutional Courts and Equivalent Bodies”, Keynote Speech, 2nd Congress of the World Conference on Constitutional Justice, Rio de Janeiro, [online]. Available at: http://www.venice.coe.int/WCCJ/Rio/Papers/AUT_Grabenwarter_keynotespeech_thesis.pdf [Accessed January 22, 2013].
    10. Hantington, S. P. (2004) Treći talas. Demokratizacija na kraju dvadesetog veka. Beograd: CID.
    11. Hein, M. (2011) “Constitutional Conflicts between Politics and Law in Transition Societies: A Systems-Theoretical Approach”, Studies of Transition States and Societies, 3(1): 3-23.
    12. Issacharoff, S. (2010) “Constitutional Courts and Democratic Hedging”, New York University School of Law, Public Law & Legal Theory Research Paper Series, Working Paper No. 10-22.
    13. Jovičić, M. (1995) “Ustavno sudstvo kao čuvar ustava i ustavnosti”, Pravni život, 44(12): 167-176.
    14. Kirchhof, P. (1997) “Demokratischer Rechtsstaat – Staatsform der Zugehörigen”. In: Isensee, J., Kirchhof, P. (eds.) Handbuch des Staatsrechts, vol. IX. Heidelberg: C.F. Müller.
    15. Linz, J. J., Stepan, A. (1996a) Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation. Southern Europe, South America, and Post-Communist Europe. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
    16. Linz, J. J., Stepan, A. (1996b) “Toward Consolidated Democracies”, Journal of Democracy, 7(2): 14-33.
    17. Marković, M. (2008) Ustavno pravo i političke institucije. Beograd: Službeni glasnik.
    18. Maruste, R. (2007) “The Role of the Constitutional Court in Democratic Society”, Juridica International, Vol. XIII, pp. 8-13, [online]. Available at: http://www.juridicainternational.eu/public/ pdf/ji_2007_2_8.pdf [Accessed March 9, 2013].
    19. Merkel, W., Puhle, H. J. (1999) Von der Diktatur zur Demokratie. Transformationen, Erfolgsbedingungen, Entwicklungspfade. Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag.
    20. Merkel, W., Sandschneider, E., Segert, D. (1996) “Institutionalisierung der Demokratie”. In: Merkel, W., Sandschneider, E., Segert, D. (eds.) “Systemwechsel 2. Institutionalisierung der Demokratie”. Opladen: Leske und Budrich. pp. 9-36.
    21. Möllers, C. (2012) “The Guardian of the Distinction: constitutions as an instrument to protect the differences between law and politics”, Jus Politicum, No. 7, [online]. Available at: http://www.juspoliticum.com/The-Guardian-of-the-Distinction.html [Accessed March 20, 2013 ].
    22. Nikolić. (1995) “Nužnost i legitimnost ustavnog sudstva u demokratskim sistemima. Skica za studiju”, Pravni život, 44(12): 177-184.
    23. Pridham, G. (2000) “On the Cusp between Democratic Transition and Consolidation in East-Central Europe?: Regime Change Patterns and External Impacts Reassessed”, Paper for Conference on Early Lessons from Post- Cold War Era: Western Influences on Central and Eastern European Transitions, Centre for Applied Policy Research Munich, and Institute for Public Affairs, Bratislava, Bratislava 12-13 October 2000, [online]. Available at: http://www.cap.lmu.de/transatlantic/download/Pridham.PDF [Accessed January 15, 2013].
    24. Rüb, F. W. (1996) “Zur Funktion und Bedeutung politischer Institutionen in Systemwechselprozessen. Eine vergleichende Betrachtung”. In: Merkel, W., Sandschneider, E., Segert, D. (eds.) “Systemwechsel 2: Institutionalisierung der Demokratie”. Leske und Budrich: pp. 37-72.
    25. Sadurski, W. (2009) “Twenty Years After the Transition: Constitutional Review in Central and Eastern Europe”, Sidney Law School Legal Studies Research Paper 09/69.
    26. Sadurski, W. (1999) “Postcommunist Constitutional Courts in Search of Political Legitimacy”, [online]. Available at: http://washu.wsoldev.com/harris/conferences/constitutionalconf/Constitutional_Courts_Legitimacy.pdf [Accessed February 2, 2013].
    27. Sandschneider, E. (2003) “Externe Demokratieförderung. Theoretische und praktische Aspekte der Außenunterstützung von Transformationsprozessen”, Gutachten für das Zentrum für angewandte Politikforschung, [online]. Available at: http://www.cap.lmu.de/download/2003/2003_sandschneider.pdf [Accessed April 2, 2013].
    28. Schultz, M. (2010) “Verfassungsgerichtsbarkeit im globalen Kontext”, GIGA (German Institute for Global and Area Studies), Focus 5/2010.
    29. Schwartz, H. (2004) “Building Blocks for a Constitution”, Issues of Democracy: Constitutionalism and Emerging Democracies, 9(1): 12-17.
    30. Vučić, O., Stojanović, D. (2009) “Ustavno sudstvo na preseku prava i politike”, Anali Pravnog fakulteta u Beogradu, 2: 89-109.


PERIODIKA Serbian Political Thought 1/2013 UDC 342.565.2:340.131 37-58