Addressing of Centre for Civic Education (CCE) and Human Rights Action (HRA) to Ivica Stankovic regarding the election of Main Special Prosecutor

Supreme State Prosecution
Mr. Ivica Stanković, Supreme State Prosecutor

Podgorica, 8 June 2015

Case: Information in relation to candidate for Chief Special Prosecutor

Dear Mr Stanković,

In light of the on-going procedure of the election of Chief Special Prosecutor, NGOs Human Rights Action (HRA) and Centre for Civic Education (CCE) feel obliged to inform You about the existence of reasonable doubt related to candidate Milivoje Katnić.

At the end of 2011, Human Rights Action (HRA), Centre for Civic Education (CCE) and Centre for dealing with the past Documenta from Zagreb, in cooperation with Friedrich Ebert Foundation, organised a regional conference titled “War for peace – 20 years later”, as a commemoration of 6 December 1991 – the bloodiest day of the siege of Dubrovnik by the Yugoslav People’s Army. Objective was the discussion on progress made by Montenegrin society up to that moment, as well as of competent institutions in dealing with the past, with the emphasis on the operations on battlefield in Dubrovnik. During that meeting, Metodije Prkačin, former prisoner of concentration camp “Morinj” and one of the witnesses in criminal procedure before Montenegrin judiciary, publically accused Milivoje Katnić, as an officer of Contra-intelligence srvice, of being responsible for thefts and arsons in Cavtat (1) . Judge Katnić denied that he was responsible for any crimes, stating that Prkačin is “lying” and that “moral is not his strongest quality”. (2)

NGOs HRA, CCE and Documenta have then, in their reaction (3) , expressed the concern because of the manner in which judge Katnić reacted, who severely insulted the victim and directly threatened Prkačin, instead of replying to allegations of his participation in battlefield in Dubrovnik by arguments. HRA, CCE and Documenta then publically urged the Judicial Council of Montenegro to determine whether judge Katnić was worthy of his function after such reaction. Also, HRA, CCE and Documenta indicated that it was apparent, based on judge Katnić’s addressing to public, that he could significantly contribute in the determining of facts from the period of war occurrences in the area of Dubrovnik region and asked of Prosecution to immediately investigate the allegations made at the conference in the presence of state prosecutor Lidija Vukčević, whereby the judge of Appellate Court Milivoje Katnić and others were mentioned, and to inform the public on that. However, HRA, CCE and Documenta did not come across the information that any competent body in Montenegro, especially state prosecution, ever contacted Prkačin in this respect.

Lack of results in the prosecution of war crimes by Montenegrin competent bodies was emphasised in the latest EC Progress report which clearly send a message that “Montenegro needs to enhance its efforts in fight against the impunity of war crimes, and to efficiently investigate, process and prosecute war crimes in line with international standards. All important allegations on war crimes need to carefully examined.” (4) Also, Maruzio Salustro, expert of European Commission, stated in his report on the performance of Montenegrin prosecution in the processing of war crimes: “Montenegrin prosecution did not conduct investigations in the area of war crimes so far, there is no proactive approach in order to try and identify the possible suspects”.

The possibility of appointing someone to the post of Chief Special Prosecutor, who is being accused of taking part in war crimes, whereby the investigation and prosecution of precisely those kinds of offenses is in the competence of Chief Special Prosecutor, is of special concern. We believe that it is the obligation of state prosecution to shed light on this issue entirely before the final election.

Respectfully Yours,

_____________________      ____________________
Tea Gorjanc Prelević,             Daliborka Uljarević
executive director                   executive director
Human Rights Action (HRA)    Centre for Civic Education (CCE)