The most ancient preserved charters and biographies of the feudal Serbia testify to the fact that the ruling class of the society had declared as criminal offences, ever since the 12th century, all serious offences against the state and its order, against property and persons for wrongdoing ("krivina”), debt ("dlg”), transgressions ("sagrešenije”), etc. and placed the punishment, more or less, into their own hands. Serbian state started using various instruments of criminal prosecution for the purpose of protecting its interests very early on.

Already at the beginning of 13th century, Serbia received a firm code of legal order in the form of the document known as "Krmčija” (also Nomocanon) written by St. Sava thus introducing the rule of law, based on the rich tradition of the Greek and Roman law. In the legal part of the Nomocanon, texts which support the doctrine of the supremacy of canon-law and proclaim the ruler’s compliance with the laws and the freedom of the rulers as sovereigns in their domain and of the church within its jurisdiction occupy a key place. Dušan’s Code dating from 1349 and 1354 no longer viewed crime as mere civil matter between the parties but started treating it as an act which violates public order and common interest which the state should protect but the proceedings were not instituted ex officio nor were they instituted by acting officers in vast majority of cases, instead, citizens or injured parties instituted them. Subsequently, with the loss of independence, Serbia lost its legislation as well; however, Dušan’s Code remained the epitome of the legal concept and legislation. In April 1804, upon summoning the elders to the Assembly in Ostružnica, Karađorđe (eng. Black George) ordered: Serbia did not have any written laws at the time or people who could write them and enforce them.

The re-establishment of the public prosecution was enabled in a way by the document entitled "Nastavlenije”, written by father Mateja on 11 January 1811, where the following was stipulated for the elders and dukes: The indictment principle developed in the Dušan’s Code was also implemented by the Code on the Court Procedure in Criminal Matters of the Principality of Serbia dating from 20 February 1865.

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