Decision of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Macedonia off 25.12.1996


No citizen can be deprived of liberty except by a court decision for his or her detention in cases determined by law.


The initiative was lodged by the Bar Council challenging Article 151.3 of the Law of Criminal Procedure.

Under the challenged provision, the police were authorized to summon citizens by a writ stating the reasons for the summons and to take them by force to a police station if they failed to respond to the summons, upon the condition that the summons contained the warning of such a consequence.

The Court repealed the challenged provision finding it unconstitutional , for the following reasons:

By Article 12 of the Constitution, the human right to liberty is irrevocable. A personís liberty cannot be restricted except by court decision and in such cases and according to such procedure as determined by law.

The sense of this constitutional provision is that detention should be allowed only if both conditions are fulfilled cumulatively, i.e. the citizen can be detained only in cases determined by law and on the basis of a court decision for his or her detention (or any other kind of deprivation of liberty). Considering that the challenged Article envisages the apprehension of citizens who fail to respond to the summons, without the prerequisite of a court decision, the Court found that this provision is not consistent with the Constitution, since the constitutional requirement that both conditions under which the citizens could be deprived of liberty be fulfilled has not been respected.