Code of Danilo - Power of State
early 1852, Montenegro changed its type of government and after two and
a half centuries existence of the theocratic state separated civil authority
from the church. Montenegro became a civil princedom - a monarchy, representing
an important event in the history of Montenegro.
the beginning, the society's energy is exhausted by the conflict between
civil authority and unbridled clans, particularly during the pre-state
period. Later, the princedom was to direct this force towards the conflict
with Turkey and consolidating interior rule and law in the country.
foundations of Montenegrin legislation were defined in 1796 with the passing
of the Standards with Legal Power, which sanctions treason of the country.
In the Stanjevici Monastery, the Montenegrin and Highlands General Law
was passed in 1798 containing 17 articles, and broadened in 1803 with an
additional 16 articles. The majority of the regulations of this legal monument
are criminal law norms, which regulate the halting of blood feuds, theft,
preventing the forcible kidnapping of women and girls, as well as preventing
disturbances at markets, etc. This legislation protects tribunals, the
church and trade and firmly threatens Montenegrins who engage in warfare
in foreign countries. In the age of Njegos we find the Paternity Law of
1833, which remained in the phase of a legal project. This Law contains
20 articles of which the majority fall in the branch of criminal law.
the uprooting of blood feuds and theft, the state consolidated itself and
assured its citizens security of person and property. The State won over
the clan. The rule of law in Montenegro is no longer a fiction, it is a
reality. The consistent application of laws, which sanction blood feuds
and theft, enabled the direction of society's energy in the tight against
Turkey and the further consolidation of the state.
General Law binds to the rule: a healthy family - a healthy state. The
family is the basic social core, which physically and morally continues
the Montenegrin warrior society. Tribunals, as a body of government, regularly
intervene when the relations in a family, which is uplifted to a high degree
of protection by the Legislation, are disturbed.
General Law prevented the easy dissolving of marriages, severally punishes
the kidnapping of girls and married women. Punitive measures are incomparably
more sever towards women for adultery than towards men. The interest of
the male is always above that of the woman.
material depicts the attempt of the state to consolidate the individual
family and relations within it, In disrupted marriages, the spouses are
placed under the supervision of the Senate, while in cases of lesser disturbed
relations they are supervised by the Clan Captains Tribunal. The tribunal
practice assumes an elastic position and, as of the mid eighteen sixties,
moves more towards the equality of the spouses in rights and obligations.
could not enter into reforms without assuring regular sources of financing
the needs of the government. In respect to payments, the clan either expresses
political obedience to the central authorities. In 1839, Njegos sent armed
forces against the Piperi clan to collect taxes, while Prince Danilo in
1852 and 1854 mercilessly calmed a mutiny Piperi and Kuci, who created
serious political problems for the consolidation of the central authorities
by refusing to pay taxes.
were collected by clan Captains with the assistance of centurions and corporals.
In the second half of the 19th century there is no abuse of tax collection
because the chiefs control one another and the taxed peasants receive receipts
as official documentary evidence. Out of the collected taxes and fines
the Princes Court is supported, travel expenses of the Prince and the Senators
in the country and abroad are settled, the salaries of judges are paid,
roads are built, aid is given for culture, etc. Public authorities assure
a political, legal and territorial unity through the consistent collection
of taxes, which all contributes to a great degree to the stabilization
of the state. The taxes which were introduced by Prince Danilo remains
unchanged till the end of the statehood of Montenegro, only the rate varied.
source of Montenegrin income for financing the Princedom are the funds
sized in the fight against usury. The General Law regulates the amount
of interest to 20 dinars per talier, however as creditors do not respect
this amount of legal profit, but often take interest over interest, the
state takes energetic measures to put an end to usury. Small peasants property
and the underdeveloped economy enable the formation of usury capital. If
a peasant does not pay the principal and interest on time, the usurer confiscates
and usurps the debtors property at low prices. Some documents indicate
that certain chiefs had lists of debtors to whom they had given money at
rates above that proscribed by the General Law. Peasants were obliged to
conclude fictive contracts for lager debts than the actual one, so that
the creditors could avoid the proscribed interest, which was bearable,
and thus collect large sums. The Senate would punish the creditors in disputed
cases of taking excess profits.
Senate, which represents Montenegro in international relations, regulates
relations with the courts of neighbouring countries on the basis of mutual
respect and reciprocity, offering security to its citizens. Here the official
acts are founded upon and revert to General Law, which stimulated the increased
international contracting capacities of Montenegro an bestowed it with
legitimacy in international relations. The increase in financial transactions
and trade of goods with forcing countries influences the development of
foreign relations, while peace at the borders allows for a greater respect
of Montenegro. Each greater or lesser offence is judged by the laws of
the territory where the disputed event occurred.
the basis of the General Law, Montenegro overcame the religious and heal
isolation and exclusiveness and confirmed itself as an independent and
sovereign state, an equal subject in international relations.
Legislation of Danilo I of 1855 assured, through profound and widespread
practice, important goals and unavoidable values. The importance and the
values of the General Law are multiple. The essence of its values which
are implemented in society's practice is in the change in social relations
and the consciousness and comportment of the Montenegrins.
document represents a from of legal occurrence as a part of society's reality.
The very enacting of the General Law is dependent of social forces, represented
by the Prince and the clan Chieftains class, prepared to consolidate the
norms of the General Law represent moral rules uplifted to the level of
legal norms in undisputed cases (treason, adultery, infanticide, etc.)
Such norms are in unity and accordance with the governing moral in the
(Text above is Jovicevic's
summary of his book published on 1994, Oktoih, Podgorica)