Boris Milosavljević

Institute for Balkan Studies Serbian Academy of Sciences and ArtsBelgrade

Drafting the Constitution of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (1920)

Abstract: The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was internationally recognized during the Paris Peace Conference in 1919–20. Even though there was neither a provisional nor a permanent constitution of the newly-formed state, factually there was a state as well as a system of governance, represented by supreme bodies, the King and the Parliament. Many draft constitutions were prepared by different political parties and notable individuals. We shall focus on the official Draft Constitution prepared during the premiership of Stojan Protić. He appointed the Drafting Committee as a governmental (multi-ethnic) advisory team of prominent legal experts from different parts of the new state consisting of Professors Slobodan Jovanović (President), Kosta Kumanudi and Lazar Marković (Serbia), Professor Ladislav Polić (Croatia) and Dr Bogumil Vošnjak (Slovenia). After two months of work, the Committee submitted its draft to the Prime Minister. The leading Serbian legal scholar and president of the committee, Slobodan Jovanović (1869–1958), was well-acquainted with the details of Austro-Hungarian and German legal traditions. Since he was an active participant and witness of the events that led to the creation of the new state, while also being an objective and critical historian, it is important to shed light on his firsthand account of the emergence of the state of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.

Keywords: Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, Vidovdan Constitution, Drafting (Constitutional) Committee, Serbo-Croat relations, Yugoslavia