Centre for Civic Education (CCE) commends decision of the Agency for Prevention of Corruption (APC) in the case of Aleksandar Andrija Pejovic, Minister of European Affairs in the Government of Montenegro and Chief Negotiator in the status of an ambassador, which has determined that Pejovic has violated Law on Prevention of Corruption, but also Law on Foreign Affairs, Law on Salaries of Employees in Public Sector, international conventions in the area of fight against corruption as well as the Constitution of Montenegro.
Decision of APC confirms CCE’s argumentative assertions that Pejovic is in conflict of interest due to simultaneous performance of two public functions and is generating income per both grounds thus violating Articles 7 and 28 of Law on Prevention of Corruption. Additionally, APC has undeniably determined also violation of Article 109 of the Law on Foreign Affairs stating that he is member of Main Board of DPS which is incompatible with his diplomatic-consular function, although he denied it in his statement. Furthermore, granting himself larger earnings than those prescribed by Article 17 of the Law on Salaries of Employees in Public Sector, Pejovic has jeopardized also this Law. Finally, Pejovic is violating also the UN Convention against Corruption – UNCAC, which Montenegro has ratified, as well as the International Code of Conduct for Public Officials, but also the Article 104 of Constitution of Montenegro.
CCE has assessed that this was expected and the only possible legal decision.
We deem decision of the Basic Court in Niksic, which today has passed a temporary measure to return Nikola Vukcevic into the Council of RTCG until completion of validity of the procedure, to be encouraging as it was previously carried out by the Basic Court in Podgorica in the case of illegally dismissed member of Council of RTCG Goran Djurovic.
Such judicial decisions, in the atmosphere of unrecorded pressures of the ruling party, represent a powerful impulse for return of trust in judiciary.
Parliament of Montenegro and its MPs shall not be above the law and judicial decisions. Possible obstruction of authorities to respect judicial decisions and laws of this country would further damage the state interest of Montenegro. Therefore, we expect the Parliament, i.e. the ruling majority to urgently and consistently apply judicial decisions, which also means halting the procedure of appointing Ivan Jovetic to the place of Nikola Vukcevic, in order to prevent further complication of an already quite complex situation which system was brought in by unlawful decisions of the ruling majority.
On the occasion of 25 years since the crime that occurred on 14 February 1993, in municipality of Čajniče, where members of so-called Army of B&H, amongst whom were eight Montenegrins, attacked unprotected villages Trpinje and Šapići from the territory of Montenegro, i.e. from the direction of the village of Bukovica, the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) uses the opportunity to pay respect to all victims of this crime, but also to victims from the territory of Pljevlja’s Bukovica, whose Muslim population was exposed to torture, searches, robberies, persecution and murders from 1992 to 1995. At the same time, CCE urges the competent authorities to question previous decisions and to process in a legally adequate manner, not only cases regarding the territory of Bukovica, but also all war crimes cases in Montenegro or war crime cases where citizens of Montenegro participated.
The reaction of the Parliament of Montenegro regarding the decision of the Basic Court in Podgorica which establishes temporary measure that orders the Parliament of Montenegro to return Goran Djurovic at the position of the RTCG Council member within eight days, until the judicial proceeding is completed, is scandalous and represents an open attack of the ruling party on judiciary. The Parliament has, in its official press release, stated that the Basic Court “tried to stultify division of powers to executive, legislative and judicial established by the Constitution of Montenegro and in that manner tried to put into jeopardy the legal system of the state”.
Such unseen attack of the Parliament of Montenegro on the judicial system represents an open party pressure on judiciary and it may have far-reaching consequences on the entire society. The Parliament, i.e. MPs of the ruling majority demonstrated that they neither recognize the division of powers to executive, legislative and judicial established by the Constitution, nor understand the role of the judicial branch in the control of legal acting of other branches. If they advert the Constitution, it would be good if MPs of the ruling majority could read the Constitution that envisages limitations of powers by the Constitution and the law and prescribes that relation of the powers is based on checks and balances in Article 11.
The ruling majority obviously believes that it is enough if there is a Parliament in the system where they would declare what is right and what is not by majority, and decide on who is guilty and who is not, hence the citizens should not have any mechanism of protection from their will.
Centre for Civic Education (CCE) appreciates the fact that the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA), in accordance with the Request for starting the procedure against Aleksandar Andrija Pejović, Minister of European Affairs and Chief Negotiator-Ambassador, for determining conflicts of interest and limitations in the performing of public duties, has opened this case as priority and began to undertake legally prescribed actions. We express hope that the final decision of the ACA will be brought quickly and in compliance with the law and having in mind public interest as well as the clarity of Pejović case.
The CCE’s request to determine Pejović’s violation of Articles 7, 9 and 23 of the Anti-Corruption Law, as he simultaneously performs two public duties and receives revenues on both grounds, is supported by the documentation obtained from the official bodies. The foundation of that request has been confirmed to the CCE by the best Montenegrin lawyers that CCE has consulted during the processing of this case and who are professionally engaged within various structures. In order to make this case of undoubted public interest available for analysis to all stakehoders, the CCE has published the accompanying documentation.
The CCE reminds the public that our mission is to contribute to the development of an open society based on the rule of law and equal opportunities for all. During fifteen years of work, we have affirmed that through numerous activities and initiatives, including those related to documented examples of abuse of public authorities and other illegal acting of public officials in Montenegro.