Praxis Watch

Friday, 14 September 2012

Court Decision Is Not Binding on the Body of Internal Affairs – Legally Unsustainable Decision

The Law on Amendments to the Law on Non-Contentious Procedure came into force on 8 September 2012, which is a step forward towards the resolution of the problem of legally invisible persons, at least in the part referring to the possibility of the registration in birth registries. The stated act standardizes the new form of non-contentious procedure before courts – procedure for determination of date and place of birth.

Although it seemed that the law would change the legally unbearable situation, which was in place before its adoption, there is a question on how to exercise the right to citizenship. Specifically, the Article 71k, Paragraph 2 of the Law on Amendments to the Law on Non-Contentious Procedure envisages that the “body competent to conduct the procedure for acquisition of citizenship of the Republic of Serbia is not bound by the final decision on date and place of birth”. It thus questions the effectiveness of the court decision, since based on the law, the same decision is binding on one but not on the other administrative body. The goal of this provision is fully unclear, particularly if we have in mind that the Law on Amendments to the Law on Non-Contentious Procedure envisages that upon receiving the motion for determination of the fact of birth, the court addresses the very body of internal affairs in order to check out if there are data about the time and place of birth of persons whose birth is being proved. In addition, it has been envisaged to conduct special checks in case of suspecting that the person whose birth is being determined has had temporary residence abroad.

Praxis will monitor the implementation of the Law in practice, as it is obvious that the issue of acquisition of citizenship is not clearly and precisely regulated, and therefore there is a danger that upon the determination of time and place of birth, persons will remain at risk of statelessness.

See:Proposal for the Law on Amendments to the Law on Non-Contentious Procedure

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