Montenegrin Nationality Law - History - Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and State Union of Serbia and Montenegro

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and State Union of Serbia and Montenegro

The constitution of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY, comprising Serbia and Montenegro) passed in 1992 continued the two-tier structure of federal citizenship and republic citizenship. However, the actual citizenship act governing the details of acquisition of citizenship in the FRY was not passed until 1996. It automatically gave citizenship in the FRY to everyone who had republic citizenship of Serbia or of Montenegro under the SFRY. It also provided that people who held SFRY citizenship, were permanently resident on the territory of the FRY at the time of the promulgation of the constitution, and had no other citizenships could apply for FRY citizenship. However it required that they renounce their former citizenship in the process. It also stated that a person acquiring FRY citizenship by naturalisation would also acquire the citizenship of the republic on whose territory the event of naturalisation occurred.

In 1999, as the NATO bombing intensified, Montenegro passed its own nationality law which changed the relationship between federal and republic citizenship, seen as a move to establish greater independence from the federal government. The law provided mechanisms for obtaining Montenegrin citizenship even in the absence of FRY citizenship; it also stated in Article 16 that a Montenegrin citizen who acquired citizenship of another republic or a foreign country would lose his citizenship. It also established particularly stringent criteria for naturalisation, in an effort to prevent refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina and from Croatia from gaining voting rights in Montenegro. However, there were significant changes to the federal citizenship laws in the aftermath of the overthrow of Slobodan Milošević; specifically, Articles 47 and 48 were modified to permit people who held SFRY citizenship to obtain FRY citizenship without giving up any other citizenship they held, thus effectively permitting multiple citizenship for the first time in the history of the nationality law. Under reformulation of the FRY as the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro in 2003, the Constitutional Charter of Serbia and Montenegro further clarified the relationship between citizenship and voting rights: it stated in Article 7 that citizens of Serbia and of Montenegro residing in the other would each have full rights, but with the specific exception of voting rights. Furthermore, under republic-level law, Montenegrins living in Serbia had no voting rights in Montenegro either. This distribution of voting rights effectively laid the ground for the passage of the Montenegrin independence referendum, 2006.

Read more about this topic:  Montenegrin Nationality Law, History

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