Prosecutor’s Office needs to be involved in fighting plagiarism on Montenegrin universities

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) yesterday filed a criminal complaint to the Supreme State Prosecutor Ivica Stanković against unidentified persons, Milan Babović and Sanja Vlahović on grounds of reasonable suspicion of having perpetrated a crime of unauthorized use of copyright works and fraud.

Namely, based on Articles 255 and 256 of Law on Criminal Procedure, CCE filed a complaint against at least 15 unidentified persons, as well as citizen Milan Babović and citizen Sanja Vlahović. These persons have, without the authorisation, taken advantage of other people’s copyright works and by placing them in legal trade in higher education institutions, under a false name, in the form of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral theses, had an intention of obtaining illicit property and other benefits for themselves and others. This criminal offense was possible to perpetrate only with the use of subtle, perfidious and intentional acts of fraud, which contributed to misconception and keeping the persons responsible for determining the relevance of case works mistaken, thereby creating lasting and immeasurable damage to the public interest of Montenegro. Reasonable doubt into the existence of concurrence of offenses, the intention to perpetrate them, conduct of criminal offense, and production of serious and dangerous social consequences, CCE based on easily available evidence and indications, and which are integrally attached along with the criminal complaint for all these persons. These allegations must be investigated and researched in legally prescribed procedure because a primary social justification exists for that.

CCE believes that this is a case of emphasised dangerous social occurrence, that is rampant and threatens to become a rule of conduct, against the legally prescribed norms and social values. Having in mind the inertness of academic community and unwillingness of academic institutions to cope with these issues in a systematic and adequate manner, CCE asked from State Supreme Prosecutor a legal processing of the complaint and determining of complete factual state on evidence presented and merits of the suspicions expressed, for the sake of full protection of legal and social order of Montenegro.

CCE has been continuously dealing with problems regarding corruption and related issues in the area of higher education since 2008, when this issue was first opened in public, in cooperation with CEMI. From the initial denial of academic community and academic institutions that these problems even exist, improvement has been made regarding their identification. Unfortunately, there has been no essential breakthrough regarding the response on those problems, which results in the fact that the Montenegro 2014 Progress Report done by the EC notes again that education is one of the key areas vulnerable to corruption.

Daliborka Uljarević, Executive Director