17. Jun 2019

On 21 May 2019, National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia adopted amendments and additions to the Criminal Code (“Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia, no. 85/2005, 88/2005 – corr., 107/2005 – corr., 72/2009, 111/2009, 121/2012, 104/2013, 108/2014, 94/2016 i 35/2019), (hereinafter: the Code). The subject amendments and additions envisage significant novelties concerning the previous version of the Code.

Namely, the amendments to the Code introduced a life sentence for the most serious crimes and the most serious forms of criminal offenses. However, it is envisaged that a sentence of life imprisonment can not be imposed on a person who had not reached the age of 21 at the time of the commission of the criminal offense.

As far as parole is concerned, the novelty is that the court may release on parole the person sentenced to life imprisonment if he has served twenty-seven years of imprisonment to which he was convicted. Also, the person sentenced to life imprisonment may not be in any case released on parole if he was convicted for the following crimes: aggravated murder, rape, sexual intercourse with a helpless person, sexual intercourse with a child and sexual intercourse by abuse of position. It is important to mention that criminal offenses for which the punishment of life imprisonment is prescribed are not the subject to the statute of limitations.
Also, the amendments and additions of the Code introduced certain novelties concerning the return. Namely, if the perpetrator of a criminal offense committed with intent was previously sentenced for an intentional criminal act, the court shall consider this as an aggravating circumstance, provided that previous conviction or serving a sentence was not more than 5 years before that.

An additional novelty is the introduction of criminal offense attack on a lawyer or any member of his family concerning the performance of the lawyer, as a group of criminal offenses against the judiciary. For this criminal offense, a prison sentence of 3 months to 3 years is prescribed, and if during the commission of the offense, light or serious bodily injury was committed, more severe punishment is prescribed.

Finally, we would like to mention that the mentioned amendments to the Code will enter into force on 1 December 2019.