On the occasion of 15 September – The International Day of Democracy, Centre for Civic Education (CCE) warns to alarmingly deep polarization of the society, which brings into question the already weak democratic standards and practices in the country.
In August 2020, Montenegrin citizens used their opportunity to change the previous authorities in the elections. In those elections, the largest number of citizens since gaining independence was registered at the polls. Democracy means that citizens participate actively in politics and hold their governments accountable in the elections.
CCE points out that a year after the parliamentary elections there are no expected improvements in the establishment of key reform and democratic standards, and that society is going toward radicalization, while political decision-makers are guided by particular interests. In the relevant international reports, Montenegro is also classified in the category of transitional or “hybrid regimes”, which represents a regression in the comparison to the previous period when it was described as a partly consolidated democracy.
On the occasion of the unofficial publication of parts of the draft Fundamental Agreement between the Government of Montenegro and the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC), the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) emphasizes the importance of the timely and official publication of this document, which has become one of the issues that strongly polarize Montenegrin society.
CCE indicates that the public should get clarification about the legal nature of the Fundamental Agreement with the SOC from the relevant address of the Government of Montenegro, more precisely – from the Ministry of Justice, Human and Minority Rights. It is precisely its legal nature that determines positions towards such an agreement.
The Fundamental Agreement signed with the Holy See has been ratified by the Parliament, and accordingly has the legal force of an international agreement. According to the Constitution of Montenegro, international agreements have legal supremacy over the laws, thus bylaws, and they are directly applicable when legal relations are regulated differently from domestic legislation. This means that if a provision of the Fundamental Agreement with the Holy See is contrary to any legal provision, the provision of the Fundamental Agreement will be applied.
Centre for Civic Education (CCE) takes the opportunity to pay tribute to all the victims and detainees in the Mamula camp during World War II, among whom was the majority population from the Bay of Kotor. The CCE urges the current Government to revise the contract with the company “Orascom”, which refers to the island of Lastavica, and to adequately protect this cultural and historical monument which was an anti-fascist execution site.
Centre for Civic Education (CCE) warns of the fact that the website of the Agency for Personal Data Protection and Free Access to Information (APDP) does not work or malfunctions for a long time, thereby disabling access to numerous documents and information of public importance. The APDP is responsible for supervising the application of the Law on Free Access to Information, and this blocks the Agency itself from fulfilling its obligations under that law.
As it was stated from that institution at the end of July, it has experienced cyber-attacks, which is why their website was not in function for more than ten days. They also noted that it was the third attack in the last few months, and that the previous ones were in March and June of this year. Both of these, as it is noted, were reported to the National Computer Incident Response Teams (CIRT).
Although almost two months have passed since the last announcement of the APDP, in which it is noted that the website is functioning again – this website is still not functional, more precisely, when you try to access it, there is a blank page without any content.
Centre for Civic Education (CCE) calls on the Agency for Personal Data Protection and Free Access to Information (APDP) to file the request for initiating misdemeanour procedure against the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport (MESCS), which did not act in accordance with the Law on Free Access to Information by not publishing information on its website within the deadline and scope prescribed for it.
The CCE considers that contribution of a member of the Council of the APDP, Muhamed Gjokaj, would be much more efficient if he performed a more active role in the management, directing the work of the APDP to implementation of sanctions as a mechanism for respecting the legal framework within its competence.
In a statement to the media, Gjokaj noted that during supervision of the portfolio of Vesna Bratić was determined that the website of the Ministry does not contain its decisions on the appointment of acting directors of primary and secondary schools in Montenegro, which were adopted after the entry into force of the Law Amending the General Law on Education. Also, it was stated that the Access to Information Guide, which was previously updated, as well as public registers and records, were not published on the site.