Serbia: Woman files criminal complaint against husband for alleged HIV transmission


The virus before the court

September 2, 2005
Source: Vreme

Little is known about the first Serbian lawsuit for the intentional spread of the HIV virus.

A woman citizen of Serbia and Montenegro filed a criminal complaint against her husband with the First Municipal Prosecutor’s Office in Belgrade. After five years of marriage and finding out that her husband was HIV positive, this woman decided to leave and sue him for “deliberately spreading the HIV virus”. The lawsuit was filed on August 18, 2005.

 The Criminal Code of Serbia has a provision concerning the criminal offense of transmitting a “particularly dangerous disease” and which prescribes a prison sentence of several years, but in order to initiate criminal proceedings against the suspect, it is still necessary to establish the basic fact: did the defendant even know that he had HIV, that is, whether he was hiding it (as his wife claims) or whether he was not even aware of it. Since the case became public only a few days ago, additional information and discussions about the existing laws and anticipated penalties are still awaited. In this sense, the experiences of other European countries, which have not yet established a common model for treating the criminal offense of knowingly transmitting the HIV virus, will be very useful.

Criminal Code of Serbia (September 2005)

“Whoever, knowing that he is infected with a particularly dangerous disease, infects another with that disease who did not know or could not have known about his disease, shall be punished by imprisonment from six months to five years.” (Criminal Code of the Republic of Serbia, Article 122a)

“Whoever seriously injures another person or severely impairs their health,

shall be punished by imprisonment from six months to five years.” (CCS, Article 53, Item 1)

“Whoever physically injures another or impairs his health so severely that as a result the injured person’s life is endangered or an important part of his body or an important organ is destroyed or permanently and to a considerable extent weakened, or the injured person is permanently incapacitated for work, or permanently and serious damage to his health or disfigurement, shall be punished by imprisonment from one to ten years.” (CCS, Article 53, Item 2)

“If the injured person dies as a result of the injuries referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 of this article, the perpetrator will be punished with imprisonment from one to twelve years.” (CCS, Article 53, Item 3)