Human Rights Action, Centre for civic education (CCE), Institute Alternative and MANS have filed a submission today to the Committee for Human Rights and Freedoms of the Parliament of Montenegro, based on which a convening of an emergency session of that working body is requested, whereby proposed amendments on the Law on NSA would be considered, given that this Law drastically jeopardises human rights guaranteed to Montenegrin citizens by the Constitution, laws, ratified international conventions, views of the Constitutional court of Montenegro, as well as by the case law of the European court for human rights.
Namely, the proposed law envisages for authorised NSA official, using only official identification, to perform direct insight into all registers and collections of information that are in possession of all legal persons, without any previous court approval and without any mechanism of complaint or court protection. In that manner, the NSA officials could, without any supervision, access all medical and banking information of Montenegrin citizens, but also various records that are in possession of NGO that provide services to citizens, such as the identity of persons who report cases of corruption, identity of domestic violence victims and other. Moreover, the proposed law envisages for NSA to monitor electronic communications, without previous court decision, solely based on the decision of the NSA director. In practice, that implies that the NSA could, without limitation, track movement of all Montenegrin citizens, through their mobile phones. Furthermore, other forms of surveillance have been handed over to the NSA by the new law, without previous court decision. So, if the law proposed is adopted in its existing form, the NSA could perform tracking down and surveillance of all Montenegrin citizens without previous approval from the court and without any limitations.
Placing these mechanisms in the hands of NSA is not only absolutely contrary to the Constitution of Montenegro, all national and international regulations, but leaves ample room for abuses by the institution, on whose shortcomings in the work indicated almost entire domestic and international community. Connections with structures of organised crime, wiretapping and surveillance of foreign diplomats, as well as involvement in various election abuses are just few of the reasons for which the NSA should not be allowed, by any mean, to obtain mechanisms for tracking of citizens and access to their information, especially without previous court decision.
In order to prevent the NSA to come into position to violate guaranteed rights of Montenegrin citizens, four non-governmental organisations have called upon the Committee for Human Rights to convene urgently, consider amendments on the Law on NSA and respond to law in an amending manner, so that its text could be harmonised with the Constitution, national and international positive regulations and positions of court.
Having in mind that the amendments on the Law on NSA directly interfere with basic human rights of all Montenegrin citizens in an entirely negative and dangerous manner, we hope that members of the Committee will understand the importance of organising special session dedicated to this act, and that the session will be convened as soon as possible, so that the Law on NSA could be amended and harmonised with the Constitution, law and international conventions that Montenegro is obliged to respect.
Tea Gorjanc Prelević, Human Rights Action
Daliborka Uljarević, Centre for Civic Education (CCE)
Stevo Muk, Institute Alternative
Vanja Ćalović, MANS