Extradition process in Serbia
The basic rules of the extradition process in Serbia will be presented to you in the following text.
Extradition is a legal process by which one country (the requesting country) may seek from another country (the requested country, in this case, Serbia) the surrender of a person who is wanted for prosecution or to serve a sentence following the conviction for a criminal offense.
If you find yourself in this scenario in a foreign nation, the most crucial thing to do is seek legal advice from a lawyer who is familiar with the subject, speaks different languages, and has worked on similar cases. The extradition process consists of the following phases:
1) Interrogation by the investigative judge
The deprivation of liberty of the individual sought for extradition in the Republic of Serbia is the first step in any extradition proceeding.
This deprivation of liberty is temporary and has only one goal: to bring the person whose extradition is sought before a pre-trial judge as soon as possible.
The judge will question the individual seeking extradition about all relevant factors in order to determine whether there are any prerequisites to extradition, including personal circumstances, citizenship, relationship with the requesting state, and the extradition request. The public prosecutor and the defense attorney will be present, and they will be able to direct questions to the person sought for extradition.
2) Detention order
Following the interrogation, the judge may order detention:
1) If such circumstances exist which indicate that the person sought for extradition will hide or escape to hinder the decision-making process on the letter rogatory or the carrying out of extradition.
2) If such circumstances exist which indicate that the person sought for extradition will hinder the collecting of evidence in the extradition procedure or criminal proceedings before the judge of the requesting state.
The decision is made in 30 days; however, it can be extended. The court re-examines whether there are reasons for the extension during the extension. The entire length of time cannot exceed a year.
Detention cannot last longer than the time it takes to carry out the extradition decision, which is one year from the date the individual sought for extradition was detained. The court may ex-officio evaluate whether there are reasons for the prolongation or revocation of custody after every two months from the final verdict on detention.
3) Checking the prerequisites
The pre-trial judge commences the second phase, which consists of gathering documents and evidence essential for extradition as soon as the decision on custody is made (in the event that detention is ordered).
The lawyer’s involvement is crucial because he or she gathers the arguments needed for further hearings with his or her client and communicates with the court on a regular basis to ensure that the court obtains the essential documents and evidence in favor of the individual whose extradition is sought. This is essential because the material on which the extradition decision will be made is being prepared at that stage of the proceedings.
After all evidence is collected (including the evidence that we will provide and evidence that we will urge Serbian courts to obtain from the foreign department of justice), the case will be sent to the council of three judges of the Higher Court to deliberate on that evidence and decide whether the prerequisites for extradition are met.
4) The types of decisions that can be made by a Council
One of the below rulings could be made by a Council of three judges:
1) They might discover that the prerequisites have not been met.
2) They may discover that the extradition requirements have been met.
The first-degree extradition process is now complete.
5) What if the prerequisites are not met?
If the Council concludes that the prerequisites are not met, the case will be forwarded to the Court of Appeal for final deliberation. If the council concludes that prerequisites are met, the defense lawyer will be able to appeal that decision, in which case the court of appeal will deliberate in the second degree on the prerequisites for extradition are met.
6) What if the prerequisites are met?
If the Court of Appeal finds that the prerequisites are met, then the final decision on the extradition will be made by the minister of justice. Whether the appeal to the Supreme court is possible and whether it has realistic chances of success depends on many facts in the case and judicial decisions in the meantime.
The defense attorney, in addition, takes an active role in the proceedings before the Minister by claiming for certain guarantees from the requesting country.
Given the foregoing, we feel that extradition is a difficult process that necessitates outstanding understanding of criminal and international law; thus, if you find yourself in this situation, do not hesitate to contact our experienced legal team.