Twenty-six years since the war crime of deportation of Bosnia-Herzegovinian refugees was marked via memorial gathering in front of Police Station of Herceg Novi, still without criminal justice for victims, without monument, without a remembrance day or the apology of police for unlawful arrest of civilians and their extradition in a manner of hostages to army of Bosnian Serbs in May 1992. Of at least 66, and according to some assessment even more than 80 deported civilians, mostly Muslims, from the collection centre in Herceg Novi, only 12 survived.
Centre for Civic Education (CCE) commends the decision of Government of Montenegro which changed the negotiation framework and established European Integration Office within the Cabinet of Prime Minister of Montenegro with Chief Negotiator in the status of ambassador as its Head. This model, that CCE too has proposed heretofore pointing out to systemic mismatch of Ministry of European Affairs, may be more efficient, more encouraging and substantially supporting for negotiation structure from the highest political level. Considering that in many areas, as key cause of lack of track record, political will is being identified, this significantly reduces space for further manoeuvres and evasion of responsibility.
For six years of accession negotiations, Montenegro has demonstrated low level of strategic thinking, wandering around in establishing the most adequate negotiation model that will provide an inclusive and transparent framework, but also the necessary meaningful and not formal cooperation and inter-sectoral coordination of all authorised organs and other stakeholders. These are preconditions, with the expressed and proven political will, for fulfilling benchmarks set by the European Commission.
26 years from a crime committed against refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina in Montenegro, known as ‘Deportation of refugees’ came to pass this May.
On Friday, 25 May, in the noon, in front of Police Station of Herceg Novi, wherefrom the majority of victims have been deported to their deaths on 25 and 27 May 1992, non-governmental organisations Human Rights Actions (HRA), Centre for Civic Education (CCE) and Centre for Women’s and Peace Education ANIMA are organising memorial gathering. On this occasion, we will lay flowers and pay respect to the perished victims.
Representatives of 14 non-governmental organisations (NGO) have signed a Memorandum on establishment of the Coalition for Transparency and Fight against Corruption at the Local Level, with an objective of, as it was stated, strengthening of transparency and responsibility of institutions in areas of particular risk for this negative occurrence.
Centre for Civic Education (CCE), on the occasion of publishing of results of screening by Special State Prosecution in cases of war crimes, elaborated in Report on work of State Prosecution, draws attention of the public to the fact that during 2017 all criminal charges related to cases of war crimes were rejected.
CCE assesses this to be discouraging for the overall process of dealing with the past in which Prosecution has an important role. The existing mechanisms by which processes related to war crimes could be accelerated are insufficiently or inefficiently being used. This is yet another evidence of simulating reforms by Montenegrin institutions which instead of production of tangible results use statistics in an attempt to present that they are dedicatedly working on fulfilment of the set benchmarks within the Chapter 23 (Judiciary and Fundamental Rights).
It should be reminded that previous proceedings, via unsustainable indictments and fictitious court proceedings, resulted in acquittal of the majority of those who were indicted for war crimes. Even so, as a rule, this was only a low number of perpetrators and never those who were in higher chain of command. Upon passing of Strategy on investigation of war crimes, which is just an expression of a need of proving before European Commission, Special Prosecution has during 2015 launched new investigations and formed seven cases for criminal offences related to war crimes. This was assessed as positive by domestic and international expert and interested public and that step forward was noted also in the EC Montenegro 2016 Report.