Photo: Ivan Sepic, January 2013

Photo: Ivan Sepic, January 2013

In the TV show Impression of the Week (Utisak nedelje), the representative of the Serbian National Movement “Nasi”, Ivan Ivanovic, in the presence of the Minister of Justice, Nikola Selakovic, reasserted his opinion, already expressed previously, that anyone who claims Kosovo is independent “should not only lose their tongue, but their head, as well”. Aware of the shock this statement caused in the B92 studio, he attempted to mollify it – turning to Sonja Biserko, president of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, and uttering the following stupidity: “You are claiming that Kosovo is independent, and by doing so, you are violating the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia. For this unconstitutional behavior, you will face charges.”

The competent minister (of justice), who was also present, did not comment on this statement. Is it because he agrees with it? And what sort of unconstitutional behavior are we talking about here?

This false argument is often mentioned when the issue of Kosovo is discussed. What is referred to is the preamble of the Constitution, which simply states that “Kosovo is part of Serbia”. This claim, although blatantly untrue, has been introduced in the Constitution, where it does not belong, in order to frighten those who would dare claim that the Republic of Serbia has no sovereignty over Kosovo. Thus, precisely for the purpose of enabling some organization like “Nasi” to threaten Sonja Biserko. Sovereignty is a legal term, which indicates the capability of a subject to de facto (!) rule over a certain territory. To say that Serbia, for a while now, has not been in power in Kosovo is simply – the truth, regardless of what is written in the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia.

If Serbia was to accept this fact, it would naturally imply removing this preamble from the Constitution. However, even advocating for such a change of the Constitution is not, and cannot be “unconstitutional activity”. Needless to say that this amendment of the Constitution would have to be carried out in a constitutional way. However, advocating for the amendment of the Constitution cannot be unconstitutional, because, if that were true, no constitution could ever be amended. Same applies for laws: a draft amendment to a law is not a priori unlawful.

To claim the opposite is nothing but dogma. No Constitution is forever, nor can it be protected from future amendments by criminal sanctions.

Peščanik.net, 05.02.2013.


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Srđa Popović
Srđa Popović (1937-2013), jugoslovenski advokat ljudskih prava. Branio mladog Zorana Đinđića, Brigitte Mohnhaupt (Baader-Meinhof), Vojislava Šešelja, Dušana Makavejeva, Milorada Vučelića, Mihajla Markovića, Miću Popovića, Predraga Čudića, Nebojšu Popova, Vladimira Mijanovića (Vlada Revolucija), Milana Nikolića, Mihajla Mihailova, Dobroslava Paragu, Milana Milišića, Vladimira Šeksa, Andriju Artukovića, Beogradsku šestoricu, profesore izbačene sa Filozofskog fakulteta... Pokretač peticija za ukidanje člana 133 (delikt govora), ukidanje smrtne kazne, uvođenje višestranačja u SFRJ... 1990. pokrenuo prvi privatni medij u Jugoslaviji, nedeljnik Vreme. Posle dolaska Miloševića na vlast iselio se u SAD, vratio se 2001. Poslednji veliki sudski proces: atentat na Zorana Đinđića. Govorio u 60 emisija Peščanika. Knjige: Kosovski čvor 1990, Put u varvarstvo 2000, Tačka razlaza 2002, Poslednja instanca I, II, III 2003, Nezavršeni proces 2007, One gorke suze posle 2010.
Srđa Popović

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