State of emergency: Truth and Delusion-Short guide for Citizens
Yesterday (15.03.2020. In our Republic, a state of emergency has been declared.
The state of emergency in the Republic has been proclaimed, however, as an “extraordinary” way.
Article 200 of the Constitution stipulates that the decision on declaring a state of emergency shall be made by the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia. This procedure of declaring a state of emergency is a regular decision-making process. But the constitution envisions, as an extraordinary (extraordinary) possibility, that in a situation in which the National Assembly cannot meet, the decision on declaring a state of emergency is brought together by the Presidents of the Republic, the Government and the Assembly.
The public has not disclosed the reasons why the National Assembly could not meet for decision-making. Only indirectly, the public found out not only that the Assembly did not meet for decision-making, but that at least for a time, it would not be met, as it was announced that the government would bring a decree that would prescribe measures of deviations from human and minority rights. Like declaring a state of emergency, it is up to the Assembly to prescribe measures of deviations from human rights during the state of emergency. Only exceptionally, when the Assembly is unable to meet, the deviation from human rights is prescribed by the Government Regulation, with the co-signature (confirmation) of the President of the Republic.
The announcement that the government will produce a decree is actually a message that the Assembly will not meet in order to decide, although it is constitutionally envisioned as a rule that the assembly without a special call is met immediately after the state of emergency (and at the latest within 48 hours of the state of emergency).
The state of emergency is declared when public danger threatens the survival of the State or the citizens. By nature, the proclamation of extraordinary state implies that certain emergency and intensive measures are taken in the everyday way of functioning of the State as a whole, certain State bodies, us as citizens and individuals. Equal to such a state of emergency involves taking certain extraordinary measures.
But except for the announcement that the army will guard borders and certain facilities (hospitals where the disease of the Covid-19) State authorities have not taken advantage of the possibility of prescriding other extraordinary measures for the time being. Namely, all other measures that were announced last night are foreseen by laws, as measures that are to be prescribed and without an extraordinary state.
There are two laws to be taken here: the Law on protection against infectious diseases and the Law on Disaster risk Reduction and emergency management (some measures were made and on the basis of other laws: the Law on trade – the freezing of the prices of certain products; Law on Foreign Trade – Prohibition of export of certain products, Law on border control – closure of certain border crossings etc.). The largest number of decisions and orders that were announced yesterday were made based on the Law on Protection against Infectious diseases (prohibition of gatherings in closed rooms for more than 50 people, etc.) about which will be more words in the following text.
What are the current consequences of declaring an emergency in the public?
Keeping in mind that the Government has not yet enacted a regulation restricting the human rights, and that all measures have been imposed on the basis of earlier existing laws that are intended to establish a legal framework for action in such and similar situations of practical legal consequences for the citizens due to the introduction of emergency at this time.
The essence of the emergency state is largely exhausted in the possibility of a deviation from human rights during the state of emergency. In this sense, we as citizens who hold (or at least have to hold) to their rights and freedoms in connection with the introduction of emergency conditions, and most should be interested in how it will affect those rights and freedoms.
Two more things to be noted here:
“The measure” that citizens older than 65 years do not leave their homes and the apartments are not yet taken, and at this point it represents only a recommendation to the citizens. Therefore, non-respecting citizens cannot respond to offence or criminal offence. It’s the most ordinary request. Yet that does not mean that such a request should be taken lightly. Seen in terms of human rights, it is desirable to make public authorities their first recommendation, and that the required measures are only made when they are found in a different way not to provide protection for the population’s health. Therefore, it is not necessary to force the state to threaten the compultics, but the recommendation is to be properly respected.
Another thing that should not be forgotten, is that freedom of movement is not absolute freedom, and that both the Constitution and the European Convention for Human Rights predict the possibility of limiting the freedom of movement of citizens in accordance with the law, when it is necessary for the preservation of public health. So the competent bodies of movement could (and may continue) significantly limit the implementation of measures from the Law on protection against infectious diseases and without the introduction of emergency conditions.
What are the possible consequences of declaring a state of emergency by citizens?
What are the possible consequences of declaring a state of emergency by citizens is the question of all issues. Still, it’s the only question we have no answer to. The answer, therefore, will have to wait for the government’s decree or the decision of the National Assembly, which eventually restricts human rights.
With the restricting of human rights, the state of emergency opens the possibility of implementing a whole set of the Law on Defence (Čl 50-57), which among other things provides the possibility of determining the work and material obligations for citizens, and special obligations for legal entities
If the state authorities of our Republic decide to restrict one or more human rights, they are obliged to do so in a manner that allows the highest possible level of respect for the principles of proportion in the limitation of these rights.
At the same time, international treaties guaranting human rights, binding our state to inform certain international organisations about possible human rights restrictions, which then begin the monitoring situation regarding the limitation of rights.
But a smaller problem is the international community. The larger problem is the unwillingness and lack of will of citizens to act according to applications, instructions and measures specified, and particularly the problem is the slowness, inefficiency and displeasure of judicial institutions in this case.
Namely 13.03.2020 years of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce has addressed the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme Court of Cassation for the decision on minimizing court proceedings and all to prevent the spread of infection.
The goal of the joint session of the structures was held today, but the authorities did not make a decision, prolonging their position on Tuesday 17.03.2020 year.
This procedure points to the unwillingness of the highest instances to recognize the purpose and importance of introducing emergency conditions. Just the basic objective of the measure is to prevent infection from being transmitted by restricting mutual contacts and thereby slow the transfer of infection.
Therefore, urgent measures must be postponed by all scheduled hearings, except for detention cases and procedures that do not suffer from delays due to the possibility of causing irreparable damages.
By maintaining the hearing, namely the arrival of Court personnel, parties and power of attorney with the summoned witnesses, the goal of extraordinary measures will not only be achieved, but are directly undermining the reasons for determining the state of emergency. The introduction of emergency conditions in citizens and in State bodies creates an increased dosage of responsibility in behavior and undoubtedly positively affects the increase of caution in the daily treatment, which, unfortunately when it comes to justice and citizens older than 65 years, has absolutely not been achieved.
For these reasons, we are unable to inform the clients whether tomorrow’s hearing will be held or to obstruct the work of the judicial authorities, but we point to the fact that any client older than 65 years has the right not to appear in court and request a postponement of the hearing in his name.
Why is the state of emergency introduced?
If the declaration of extraordinary State has not changed at all, that is if the state of emergency in itself does not change anything that has not already been changed by applying the appropriate laws and without introducing an emergency state to what is the state of emergency?
It seems that the most important reason is the introduction of the extraordinary state of psychological nature. The introduction of emergency conditions for both citizens and state authorities creates an increased dosage of responsibility in behavior and undoubtedly positively affects the increase of caution in daily treatment.
Other reasons may be technical.
Technically observed, an declared state of emergency, saves the state’s time in any further urgent action if necessary.
Finally, the introduction of emergency conditions create preconditions that in case of a negative epidemiological situation, the elections are scheduled for 26.04.2020. Be cancelled if it is assessed that their maintenance may endanger public health. Namely, the introduction of emergency conditions comes to automatic activation of the extension of the Assembly as the most important body of the state until the end of state of emergency, which can last ninety days, after which it can be extended for another ninety days.
What do you do next?
The circumstance that the proclamation of extraordinary State in our Republic is part of political, partly psychological, and partly technical character, does not mean that everything stays the same.
Except that things can change very quickly, it should be observed that in recent days it is independent of the introduction of extraordinary state that a large number of different measures have been introduced that undoubtedly affect the daily life of the citizens of Serbia.
All mandatory measures and orders, citizens must respect under the threat of sanctions.
The sanctions threatened by the citizens are misdemeanor and criminal.
The reminder works in the Republic of Serbia has been declared an epidemic of the virus of Humanid 19, which means that the opportunity to implement the provisions of members 248 and 249 of the Criminal Code, in order to enforce criminal offences of non-compliance with health regulations during the outbreak and the criminal offence of transferring infectious diseases, for which the fines or imprisonment for up to three years are required.
Also, the violation of the measures in connection with the epidemic may be withdrawn by a misdemeanor responsibility that carries with it the fines and for individuals in the amount from 30,000 to 150,000 dinars; And for legal entities in the amount from 50,000 to 500,000 RSD (here are examples for the violation of violations of offences from the Law on Protection against infectious diseases).
In the end, should not be forgotten that the citizens in the communication and transmission of the news should always be able to convey the news that has been verified and the news arising from the trust source, in order to avoid the transfer of false and sensational news, which could cause panic, especially when it is in mind that causing the panic to be a particularly criminal offence (article 343 of the Criminal Code).
Aleksandar Todorović PhD
Frequently asked questions regarding emergency conditions:
In this place we will bring most frequently asked questions and give a few tips. We will update the list of councils and questions regularly.
Do the caterers have to close the catering facilities?
At this point, there is no ban on catering facilities, the individual decision of each caterer is whether it will work. It is necessary to note that the gatherings that count 50 and more people indoors are prohibited, that includes guests in the catering facility regardless of whether they are gathered here for a program or event, or that everyone has come to their direction.
For which products are “frozen price”:
The list of products is in the decision of the Serbian government from 15.03.2020. The following are the products:
1) wheat flour;
3) edible oil sunflower;
4) white sugar;
7) vegetables and fruits;
9) Fresh Meat;
10) meat processing;
12) thermically processed cow milk (pasteurized and sterilized);
13) powdered milk;
15) coconut eggs;
16) Children’s food;
21) Gloves (both clothing and clothing) from plastic masses;
22) Diapers for children and adults;
24) Ubrusi (rolls and a piece);
25) Toilet paper;
26) masks, plastic with textile filter;
27) covers, textile for surgical use;
28) suit surgical from paper;
29) Masks of paper;
30) Suit Protective, Gumeno;
31) Gloves, rubber, surgical and other;
32) suit surgical textile;
33) Varikina and other disinfectity;
36) Glasses, protective
Do you have to cancel celebrations that come 50 and more people (weddings, birthdays, baptises?
If celebrations are organized in a public place (café, restaurant, playroom etc.) you must cancel them.
Does the patient have to say when and where he traveled and who he was in contact with when the doctor examined him?
yes I do. The law provides a special offence if the patient refuses to let the data or if it hides or agrees on a fact that is essential to diagnostics or preventing the spread of the infection.
Do I have to show up at work after the state of emergency?
yes I do. If your employer has not informed you otherwise, and if you have no other reasons for absence from work, only the proclamation of the state of emergency does not mean that you may be absent from work.
Are the courts working?
Currently, there is no official information about the precise manner of functioning of the courts during this condition, but many courts and judges have begun to cancel all cases, which do not require emergency treatment. Call your lawyer before you go to court. If you do not have a lawyer, call the court headquarters and ask if you should appear at the scheduled trial.
If you have any questions or concerns, write to us: