From 24 to 27 September 2020, the Centre for Civic Education (CCE), with the support of the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights, has organized, in Andrijevica, the work of XXV generation of Human Rights School which has been successfully attended by 21 high school pupils from 13 Montenegrin municipalities.
On the occasion of 28 September – International Right to Know Day, the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) expresses hope that the new leadership of the Parliament and the future composition of the Government will base its work on the transparency principle. This implies respecting, not denying, the public’s right to know how decisions are made and implemented by institutions and their leaders.
Centre for Civic Education (CCE), on the occasion of the published Report on Financial Audit and Regularity Audit of the Operations of the Spending Unit Judiciary for 2019 by the State Audit Institution (SAI), notes that even after a few weeks there is no adequate reaction from the judiciary, and it should at least include the resignations of those responsible due to the SAI’s assessments.
The CCE reminds that the SAI gave a negative opinion on the regularity audit and a conditional opinion on the audit of the Annual Financial Report of the Spending Unit Judiciary for 2019. The fact that finances are being managed in this way in the judiciary, which received almost 33 millions of euros from the budget last year, underlines concerns about the state of affairs in that branch of government, whose leaders have become a barrier to further process of European integration and democratization of Montenegrin society.
A comprehensive review of the SAI report brings to light significant deficiencies in financial management that require accountability of all members of the Judicial Council, the Supreme, Appellate, Administrative and Commercial Courts, as well as higher courts in Podgorica and Bijelo Polje, but almost all basic courts because irregularities are not found in only two basic courts (Bijelo Polje and Berane). There are also irregularities in all misdemeanor courts. In addition, the Prosecution would have to examine whether there are elements of a criminal offense in such managing that are prosecuted ex officio. The scope of violations of the law and other identified irregularities by those who should be law protectors caused harm to the budget, but also pointed to the inadmissible attitude of the court management in the law enforcement.
Centre for Civic Education (CCE) submitted to the Judicial Code of Ethics Commission two initiatives for initiating proceedings and establishing violations of the Code of Ethics by judges Srđan Klikovac and Blažo Jovanić.
The CCE sent an initiative to the Judicial Code of Ethics Commission related to the recent address by the judge of the Administrative Court, Srđan Klikovac, to the teacher of the elementary school “Branko Božović” in Podgorica, Mitar Magovčević. Namely, on 17 September 2020, this judge sent insults and threats to Magovčević over the phone, more precisely by text message, which does not correspond to the manner of communication and behavior of one judge. The CCE assesses that Klikovac violated Articles 7 and 9 of the Judicial Code of Ethics. It is indisputable that a judge is obliged to preserve the reputation of the judicial vocation and the judiciary through the written and spoken word. This refers to the courtroom, but also to the communication outside the courtroom, which Judge Klikovac did not demonstrate with such an approach. An aggravating circumstance is his subsequent public announcement, from which it follows that he believes that his rights have been violated, but also that he does not intend to provide their protection through institutional means but in other illegal ways. It is extremely worrying that one holder of the judicial office is publicly announcing that justice should be taken into his own hands. Judge Klikovac is, by the way, the ex-husband of Gordana Klikovac, the acting director of the elementary school “Branko Božović”, who was the opponent for the election of the school director Mitar Magovčević. Magovčević himself, on several occasions, publicly expressed doubts about the validity of the diploma of Gordana Klikovac, who graduated from the International Faculty in Brčko. According to the Agency for the Development of Higher Education and Quality Assurance, that faculty is not in the Register of Accredited Faculties, and persons from that faculty cannot be employed in B&H, and therefore not in Montenegro as well.
The Agency for Personal Data Protection and Free Access to Information was sent to the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) Minutes on the performed inspection supervision in the State Election Commission (SEC). The CCE has previously submitted to the Agency the initiative to conduct the oversight process in the SEC, due to the suspicion that the employee of the Parliament of Montenegro, Vuko Perišić, whose software solution is used by the SEC to verify signatures, processes citizens’ data without a legal basis.
This record also points to the concerningly unprofessional approach of the Agency in the application of the legal obligation to protect the personal data of citizens. Neither any disputable fact was noted nor any recommendation given. Furthermore, the protection of the SEC was done directly, which should be the subject of interest of other competent bodies.
The CCE expresses a reasonable suspicion that the Agency has exceeded its authority and put into question the legality of its work in an attempt to convince everyone of the SEC’s infallibility in this case, which is far from the facts. The Rulebook on the manner of performing supervision in the field of personal data protection prescribes that the controller is authorized to take statements from the person in charge and other persons from the subject of supervision. However, we have an unprecedented approach in the field of inspection, as it follows from the Minutes most of the “facts” were established “over coffee” with the President of the SEC, Aleksa Ivanović, and the employee of the Parliament, Vuk Perišić, instead of two separate official statements were taken.