Pandora’s box of SEC and blind eye of the Agency for Personal Protection Data

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) received from the State Election Commission (SEC), in line with the Free Access to Information Law, service contracts that the SEC signed with employees of the Parliament of Montenegro, and these undoubtedly open a new affair related to the work of this institution.

Temporary service contracts were concluded with 10 employees, as stated, to verify signatures of support submitted by the electoral lists for parliamentary elections held on 30 August 2020. In overall, these envisage obligations in terms of data entry, control and matching of data to the submitted signatures of support, while part of the contracts also refers to the numbering of the submitted lists, administration, as well as design and maintenance of the website, and finally coordination tasks, work on application solution and reporting. »

Teacher Višnjić should no longer be in the formal education system

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) strongly condemns and calls on the competent authorities to react urgently due to the incident in which the abuse of the authority of one teacher endangered human rights, as well as the health of pupils of the elementary school “Yugoslavia” in Bar. 

Teacher Visnjic, through a Viber group, which was established to more efficiently conduct the formal educational process in a pandemic, invited pupils to a religious ceremony in a religious building. On that occasion, several National Coordination Body’s measures were violated. We believe that there are enough reasons for the competent educational and prosecuting authorities to react to prevent future similar “extracurricular activities”, and for teacher Višnjić to be adequately sanctioned.

CCE recalls that Article 14 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which are also part of the Montenegrin legislative framework, stipulate that everyone has the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression. However, these conventions also provide for the right not to be religious or to express a religion as such. Article 5 of the General Law on Education explicitly prohibits religious activity in institutions of a publicly valid educational programme. »

Political elites have a duty to sanction every type of violence

On the occasion of the International Day of Non-Violence – 2 October, the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) calls for all social actors to use their influence to protect the culture of cohabitation, peace and dialogue.  

The events of the last months have increased pressure in society. More than half a year of pandemics, economic uncertainty and restrictions, represent a serious burden to the society, and these have been strenghtened by political and identity tensions. The national or religious incidents, as well as the increase of domestic violence, need to be an alarm for political leaders to correct their tone. It is about time for the retirement of aggressively populist and radically religious vocabulary and the prioritization of constructive and realistic language.  

CCE is pointing out that the new government, and the opposition as well, must keep in mind that the existing tolerance mechanisms in Montenegrin society have their limitations. Even though the current political crisis is a consequence of wrong political decisions over a long time frame, the responsibility for the escalation of violence belongs to all political leaders. »

Case clear, unclear the court which allow prolongation

The Centre for Civic Education (CCE) expresses suspicion that the trial before the Basic Courts in Podgorica in the case against Bojana Lakićević Đuranović, associate professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Montenegro, accused of plagiarism, lasts an inappropriately long time for the accused to avoid indisputable responsibility.

The CCE, 14 months ago, on 8 July 2019, submitted a criminal charge against Lakićević Đuranović due to a well-founded suspicion that she committed plagiarism, ie the criminal offense of intellectual property theft under Article 233, paragraphs 1, 2, 3 of the Criminal Code of Montenegro. Based on that criminal charge and the reconnaissance, the Basic State Prosecutor’s Office filed the indictment on 20 September 2019. The first hearing was held on 5 November 2019, and until today – after seven hearings – the procedure has not essentially moved beyond the beginning. Additionally, it seems that there will be no progress on 27 October 2020, when the next hearing is scheduled.

The reasons for the absence of the accused or her lawyer under the justification of illness, non-receipt of the court post, or waiting for the decisions of other judicial and administrative bodies in this matter are model examples of time buying, delaying proceedings, and contempt of court. It is especially surprising that the judge in charge, Nada Rabrenović, allows that and hence contributing to the meaninglessness of this procedure and further damage to the reputation of the court. Namely, the criminal judge is not bound by the decision of the administrative judge because the administrative dispute has nothing to do with the criminal procedure in the specific case, and Judge Rabrenović just allows the accused and her defense that manipulation. »