The National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia adopted the Law on Archive Materials and Archiving Activities (the “Law”) in January 2020; with its implementation kicking off in February 2021.
The intention of the Law is to regulate the system of protection of the archival and documentary material and the archives’ basic activities. The scope of the Law is set very broadly, and its provisions also apply to companies and the documentation of any type or form which they produce within their usual course of business.
A brief overview of the most important aspects of the Law is provided below.
The intention of the Law is to regulate the system of protection of the archival and documentary material and the archives’ basic activities.
Archival material, as permanently preserved documentary material, is defined as a selected original, and in the absence of the original, any reproduced form of document or record created by the work and activities of state bodies and organizations, territorial autonomy bodies and local governments, institutions, public enterprises, holders of public authority, companies, entrepreneurs, persons performing registered activities, religious communities, as well as other legal or natural persons (the “Subjects”), and are of lasting importance for culture, art, science, education and other social areas, regardless of when and where they originated, and whether they are located in institutions for the protection of cultural property or outside them, and regardless of the form and medium of the record on which they are preserved.
Documentary material is defined as a set of documents or records created or received by the activities and work of the Subjects, in the original or reproduced form of the document, regardless of the form and format of recording, as well as prescribed records.
Archive book is a basic record of the entire archive and documentary material created in within the work of the Subject and is supposed to be submitted to the competent archive annually by 30 April of the current year. The Historical Archives of Belgrade has, however, for 2021 extended this deadline until the end of the year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Other archives have still not issued such statements, but it is expected that they will follow suit.
The Law introduces numerous obligations for the Subjects in relation to protection, record-keeping and submissions of the archival and documentary material.
Some of the most important obligations are:
The Subjects also need to adopt:
Subjects that fail to act in accordance with the provisions of the Law, are liable for a misdemeanor punishable with a monetary fine in the amount of RSD 50,000 to 2,000,000 (approximately EUR 400 to 17,000), while the responsible person within the Subject may be imposed a fine in the amount of RSD 5,000 to 150,000 (approximately EUR 40 to 1,200).