Yugoslavia: Whether an amnesty law has been passed in the year 2001, and whether it is being implemented; a copy of the Law on Amnesty
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||4 April 2001|
|Citation / Document Symbol||YUG36447.E|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Yugoslavia: Whether an amnesty law has been passed in the year 2001, and whether it is being implemented; a copy of the Law on Amnesty, 4 April 2001, YUG36447.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3df4bec824.html [accessed 7 October 2015]|
On 30 March 2001 a representative of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia stated the following:
Two Amnesty Laws were passed in February 2001: (1) the Amnesty Law adopted by the Assembly of the Republic of Serbia on 13 February 2001, covering certain crimes listed in the Penal Code of the Republic of Serbia; and (2) the Amnesty Law adopted by the Assembly of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on 26 February 2001, covering certain crimes listed in the Penal Code of the FR of Yugoslavia, including the crimes against the army and the state (such as desertion from the army, armed rebellion against the state etc.). Notice must be taken, however, that neither of the Amnesty Laws grants amnesty to persons indicted for or convicted of terrorism.
According to our information, both Amnesty Laws are being implemented without any obstructions. The Amnesty Laws have not been implemented in full yet, but the only reason for that seems to be the time factor, i.e. the need for a case-by-case approach. There have been no indications, either in public or in our contacts with prisoners, that certain categories of prisoners, to which the Amnesty Laws apply, are being excluded from the implementation of the two laws.
Please find attached to this Response an English translation of the 26 February 2001 Law on Amnesty, passed by the Assembly of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
On 10 March 2001, 99 Albanian prisoners were released from jails in Serbia under the terms of the 26 February amnesty, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (AFP 10 Mar. 2001). The first of the Albanian prisoners to benefit from the amnesty, a group of 20, were released on 7 March (ibid.).
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
According to Article 96, paragraph 2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, I issue this
On proclaiming the Law on Amnesty
The Law on Amnesty, adopted by the Federal Parliament at the session of the Chamber of Citizens on 26th February 2001 and at the session of the Chamber of Republics on 26th February 2001.
PR n. 17 26th February 2001 Belgrade
President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Dr. Volislav Kostunica
LAW ON AMNESTY
Amnesty is granted to persons who, until 7th October 2000, committed or are seriously suspected of having committed the following criminal acts: refusing to take in charge and use weapons, under art. 202, ignoring summons and avoiding military service, under art. 214, avoiding military service by disablement or deceit under art. 215, arbitrary departure or desertion of The Army of Yugoslavia under art. 217, avoiding census and examination under art. 218 and failing to execute a pertinent commitment under art. 219, provided by The Penal Code of The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia ("Official Gazette of FRY", issues 44/76, 36/77, 34/84, 37/84, 74/87, 57/89, 3/90, 45/90, 54/90 and "Official Gazette of FRY" issues 35/92, 16/93 and 24/94.
Under this Law, amnesty is also granted to persons who in the period between 27th April and 7th October 2000 committed, or are seriously suspected of having committed the following criminal acts: obstructing struggle against the enemy under art.118, armed rebellion under art. 124, instigating a forceful change of the constitutional order under art. 133, rallying around inimical activities under art. 136 and encroaching upon the reputation of FRY, under The Penal Code of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia ("Official Gazette of FRY" issues 44/76, 36/77,34/84, 37/84, 74/87, 57/89, 3/90, 38/90, 45/90 and "Official Gazette of FRY" issues 35/92, 16/93, 37/93 and 24/94.
Amnesty from items 1 and 2 of this article involve the discontinuation of prosecution, penal measures and annulment of the sentence.
Persons who, before 7th October 2000, were condemned for criminal acts provided by The Penal Code of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, except for persons rightfully condemned for having committed the criminal act of terrorism under art. 125, criminal acts against humanity and International Law according to Vol. XVI, for the criminal act of illegal production of drugs and drug trafficking under art. 245 and for the criminal act of facilitating the consumption of drugs under art. 246 of The Penal Code of The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia ("Official Gazette of FRY" issue n. 44/76, 36/77, 34/84, 37/84, 74/87, 57/89, 3/90, 45/90, 54/90 and "Official Gazette of FRY" issue 35/92, 16/93, 37/93 and 24/94).
In case criminal charges have not been pressed against a defendant under art.1, procedures will not be started, and in instances where procedures are under way – they will be discontinued.
In case a defendant under art.1 has been lawfully condemned to a prison sentence, they will be acquitted from the execution of the entire term or the remaining period of the term.
Amnesty does not encroach upon the rights of third parties that are based upon the sentence.
For a person subject to criminal procedures or in case of statutory termination of procedures, the amnesty act is brought by the authorized first-degree court perfunctorily.
In case a person who comes under Art. 1, who is subject to amnesty, is in remand, the authorized first-degree court will repeal the remand.
For persons serving prison sentences under Art.1, the authorized first-degree municipal court under the jurisdiction of which the correctional institution is placed, will repeal the sentence and release them from further serving of their prison terms, whereas persons serving prison terms in military penitentiaries will be released by acts that will be brought by the authorized first-degree court martial.
Acts referring to item 1 and 2 of this article will be brought perfunctorily within three days following the coming into force of this Law.
In cases coming under Art. 2. of this Law, the authorized first-degree court will decide which part of the duration of the prison term the convicted person is pardoned and will define the rest of the duration of the term which is to be effectuated. Should the remaining part of the term be shorter or equal to the duration of the diminished sentence, the convicted person will be released immediately.
A decision in accordance with Articles 5–7 of this Law can also be brought at the request of the defendant or the convicted person or a person who can lodge a complaint on behalf of the accused.
The decision to grant amnesty can be contested by the prosecutor, the defendants and their lawyers, the convicted persons and persons who are authorized to lodge a complaint on their behalf if they have submitted one.
A complaint in accordance with paragraph 1 of this article does not postpone the implementation of the decision.
In case individuals who come under the Amnesty Decree, according to Par.1 are in remand or is serving a prison sentence, the court will rule that they be immediately released.
Erasing the sentence from official criminal records files under Art.1 of this Law will be carried out perfunctorily by the officials in charge of those records, within three days from the coming into effect of this Law.
Erasing the sentence according to par. 1 of this article will also be carried out at the request of individuals who are entitled to submit a request seeking amnesty according to this Law.
Unless the Law provides otherwise, the procedure regarding the granting of amnesty is to be in accordance with the provisions of the Law on Criminal Procedures.
This Law comes into effect one day after its publication in "The Official Gazette of the FRY"
Agence France Presse (AFP). 10 March 2001. "Kosovo Albanian Prisoners Freed by Belgrade." (NEXIS)
Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, Belgrade. 30 March 2001. Correspondence.
Women in Black, Belgrade. 30 March 2001. Correpondence.
Yugoslavia. 26 February 2001. "Law on Amnesty." (English translation provided by Women in Black)