According to the Law on Archival Materials and Services (Official Gazette of RS no. 6/2020) (“the Law”), creators and holders of archival and documentary material shall be obliged, in addition to other obligations set out by the Law and by-laws passed thereunder, to submit to the competent archive a transcript of archive book no later than April 30 of the current year, for documentary material created in the previous year.
Obligation to submit archive book transcript
The Law has started to apply on February 2, 2021, and it stipulates a series of obligations for creators and holders of archive and documentary material. One of the respective obligations is to submit to the competent archive a transcript of archive book for documentary material created in the previous year, no later than April 30 of the current year, under the threat of misdemeanor liability and imposing of the prescribed fine (in the amount of RSD 50,000 to 2,000,000 for a legal entity, and from RSD 5,000 to 150,000 for a responsible person in a legal entity).
Opinion of the competent ministry with respect to the Law application
According to the official opinion of the Ministry of Culture and Information no. 011-00-71/2021-02 from April 29, 2021, which was issued due to a large number of questions regarding the exercising of the Law, notably concerning the drafting of normative acts and submission of archive book transcript to the competent public archive, the obligation for companies to submit the respective transcript commences in 2022. Namely, transcripts of archive books for documentary materials created by the end of 2021 shall be submitted by April 30, 2022, since companies were not liable to submit their archive book transcripts in 2021.
Issues in implementation of the Law
However, it appears that certain practical issues regarding the aforesaid obligation have not been resolved yet, regardless of the time passed.
Namely, on the website of Historical Archive of Belgrade there is a notice according to which there is still an ongoing registration of an immense number of received requests (around 20,000) for issuing of consent to the list of categories, while at the same time, in accordance with the existing human resources and technical capacities, the processing of lists, creating and archiving of dossiers, and issuance of consents is simultaneously done, while their takeover is done upon invitation from the said archive, by phone or email, to the provided contact information. Therefore, prior to the completion of registration procedure concerning the received documentation, the archive will not have the capacity to continue with receipt of new requests (either by mail or personally), while further information will be provided to the interested parties in the same way.
In relation thereto, a particular problem is the fact that the Rulebook on Archive Book Template (Official Gazette of RS no. 34/2022) (“the Rulebook”), which enters into force on March 24, 2022, stipulates that the template concerned shall contain the number of consent to the category list, which cannot be obtained by creators and holders of archive and documentary material from the territory of Belgrade at the moment, according to the abovementioned notice.
According to the information from the archives, creators who did not submit archive book before, shall be obliged to provide such book covering the period from their establishment until December 31, 2021, i.e., not only for 2021. On the other hand, those who submitted transcripts for previous period shall file them only for 2021.
Content of the Rulebook
As we have mentioned earlier, the Rulebook (enacted only one and a half month before the expiry of the deadline for submission of archive book transcript) specifies the template of archive book which is kept by creators and holders of archive and documentary material.
According to the Rulebook, archive book represents the main record of the overall archive material and documentary material generated during creator’s work, i.e., general inventory of overall archive and documentary material from previous years that creators and holders such material are obliged to keep as of their establishment, as well as documentary material kept for any reason whatsoever either by creator and holder.
Archive book may be kept in paper and electronic form, on AK form that is printed at the end of the Rulebook and represents its integral part. The respective form contains the following elements: ordinal number, date of entry, year of creation, content, classification mark, storage period from the category list, number of consent to the category list, volume of documentary material, premises and shelves/devices for storage with location, number and date of minutes, as well as remarks.
Paper form of archive book is a hard-cover book in horizontal A4 layout, with title Archive book printed on the cover, including a space for creator’s and holder’s name, place and range of numbers in the book, whereas all of its pages (except the first and the last page) shall be numbered.
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By Ivana Ruzicic, Partner, and Lara Maksimovic, Senior Associate, PR Legal