HUMAN RIGHTS IN SERBIA – January–June 2020
The Serbian authorities proclaimed a state of emergency on 15 March 2020 to prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its effects. The Decision on the Proclamation of the State of Emergency1 was adopted by the Serbian President, Na-tional Assembly Speaker and Prime Minister. All measures derogating from the hu-man and minority rights and freedoms enshrined in the Serbian Constitution were imposed by the executive authorities.2 The Decision on the Proclamation of the State of Emergency was preceded by a Decision declaring COVID-19 caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus a communicable disease, which enabled the Health Minister to issue, on 12 March 2020, the Order Prohibiting Assemblies in Indoor Public Spaces pursuant to Article 52 of the Act on the Protection of the Population from Commu-nicable Diseases.
Article 200 (1 and 4) of the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia (herein-after: Serbian Constitution)3 lays down that the National Assembly shall proclaim a state of emergency when the survival of the state or its citizens is threatened by a public emergency and allows the National Assembly to prescribe measures derogat-ing from human and minority rights guaranteed by the Constitution during the state of emergency. Paragraph 2 of Article 200 of the Constitution limits the duration of the state of emergency to 90 days; upon the expiry of that period, the National As-sembly may extend the validity of the decision proclaiming the state of emergency another 90 days. Under paragraph 3 of Article 200 of the Constitution, the National Assembly shall convene during the state of emergency without any special call for assem-bly and it may not be dissolved.