Centre for Civic Education (CCE) expresses disappointment that the Proposal of the Law on the life partnership of the same – sex partners was not adopted yesterday in the Parliament of Montenegro. It is also hypocritical of political parties which rhetorically advocate for human rights protection to deprive human rights to one of the most discriminated groups in Montenegrin society for the sake of their particular interests.
Montenegrin LGBTIQ community was excitedly awaiting the adoption of the Law on the life partnership of the same – sex partners, as it would mean turning point in life of LGBTIQ persons, exercise of some basic rights and improvement of the quality of life. More broadly, adoption of this legal text would be a significant test passed by the MPs of the Parliament of Montenegro, which would show that they are aware of the significance of the indivisibility of human rights. Unfortunately, this did not happen. Even more worrying is the fact that the rights of LGBTIQ persons in Montenegro are victims of another political-party calculation, despite indications that Montenegrin society has made progress in acceptance and full recognition of LGBTIQ persons.
Centre for Civic Education (CCE) assesses that the judgement of the Administrative Court Council, composed of Biserka Bukvić, Srđan Klikovac and Mirjana Milić, following the complaint of the former Minister of European Affairs, Chief Negotiator of Montenegro with the EU and Ambassador Aleksandar Andrija Pejović, is political and legally senseless.
On 1 February 2018, the CCE submitted an Initiative to the Prime Minister of Montenegro, Duško Marković, for starting the procedure of dismissal of Aleksandar Andrija Pejović from duty due to the violation of the Constitution in relation to incompatibility of the office, as well as the request to the Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (APC) to initiate the procedure against Pejović for determining conflict of interest and limitations in performing public duties. The CCE has explained in detail and supported with evidence the request and initiative, which was duly delivered to the interested public.
The Administrative Court ruling states that the Court found that Pejović, as the Minister of European Affairs, also performed the duties of the Chief Negotiator in the Mission of Montenegro to the EU as the ambassador, and that besides the basic salary he received also special supplement, which even Pejović himself did not dispute. The Court argues that the Agency’s conclusion that Pejović besides the ministerial function had the function of the ambassador is not factually and legally sustainable, as per the Court, ‘the status of the ambassador’ is a diplomatic title, not a function.
Transparency is one of the basis of democratic state that indicates the level of accountability of public sector bodies, including the judiciary, towards citizens. In the judiciary, the significance of this postulate is recognized, but further efforts are needed to effectually implement it, through two-way communication, planned information and education, which would strengthen trust in the judiciary and promote the rule of law, as it was concluded today at the Open Justice Conference that was organized by the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) in Podgorica.
The increase in crime, not only in Montenegro, but also much wider, leads to the burden of prison facilities and the need to use alternative models of criminal sanctions. In addition, prison sentence, apart from failing to achieve all expected effects, is also significant budgetary burden. Therefore, the introduction of alternative sanctions into our criminal system is a stepping stone, but in order for this system to produce adequate results, it needs to be fully aligned with contemporary European trends in the field of criminal justice policy, as it was concluded today in Podgorica at the conference organized by the Centre for Civic Education (CCE).
By electing Ms. Vesna Medenica for the third time as President of the Supreme Court of Montenegro, the Judicial Council grossly violated the Constitution, which prohibits in Article 124 (5) the same person from being elected more than twice for the post (“The same person may be elected the president of the Supreme Court no more than two times”).
The Judicial Council elected the President of the Supreme Court without any reasoning regarding constitutionality of the candidacy, as would have a politburo in a one-party system, although 11 non-governmental organizations, law professors and other prominent lawyers from Montenegro and the region had publicly warned in due time and with reasoning that the candidacy of Ms. Medenica had been unconstitutional.
By this decision, members of the Judicial Council acting with one voice and without explanation repealed the Constitution of Montenegro, aware that there would be no legal review against their decision, as there had been no other candidate for the same function who could file legal remedy.
We may only conclude that the Constitution had been abolished and to warn the public that instead of the rule of law what we have is rule of political power, overriding general interest for personal gain. The result is devastating for Montenegro, especially as it comes from those whose job is to secure the independence of the judiciary and provide for equal application of the Constitution and law to everyone.