Identify the responsibility for fees which Government pays out for arbitrary restraint

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) wants to raise the issue of arbitrary detention and the lack of responsibility of authorities, on the basis of very specific indicators that we got using the option of free access to information. Harmful effects of arbitrary deprivation of liberty, have a special significance for the direct victims, but also for all citizens of Montenegro.

Using the provision of the Free Access to Information Law, CCE has asked the Ministry of Justice for the precise information about the number of filed claims for damage compensation for arbitrary deprivation of liberty during the period of 1 January 2009 until 31 December 2012, the number of signed agreements on that basis, as well as the total amount from the budget of Montenegro paid to persons for whom has been determined that they have been unreasonably deprived of their liberty.

The response of the Ministry of Justice states that the number of filed claims for damage compensation for arbitrary deprivation of liberty, for the given period is 687, whereas the number of signed agreements based on this ground is 274. For this purpose, on behalf of damage compensation to persons arbitrary deprived of liberty, a total amount of 890.355,00 € was paid from the Budget of Montenegro.

The remaining of 413 applications were considered by the Working Team of the Ministry of Justice and the same have not been declined, but, according to Article 500 of the Criminal Procedure Law, applicants have been sent to acquire their rights through litigation or a lawsuit in front of the authorized court. According to the submitted data one can easily draw a conclusion that the burden on the state budget, based on the payment of damages for the remaining of 413 applications, will be significantly higher than the amount already paid, and that cumulative it will form is a multi-million amount.

It is undisputed that the problem of arbitrary detention produces two major consequences. One of it is, of course, the damage that has already been proven to the budget, with respect to all citizens of Montenegro, and the second one, more severe, is the attack on the integrity of the citizens who are the victims of arbitrary deprivation of liberty as a result of inadequately constructed factual situation that would have to be preceded by raising the founded indictment.

At one point, we can see that the system is working, because it is possible to prove a mistake of the competent state authorities and conduct the action for damage compensation. But what really worries us is the lack of mechanisms for determining the specific, direct and individual responsibility within the competent authority. In this case, specifically the one of the Supreme State Prosecution.

CCE requires that the most serious method possible should be used as an approach to this problem and that assumptions that produce such a high number of unfounded accusatory claims should be systematically eliminated.

Boris Marić, Senior Legal Advisor