Prosecution lacks the track record, as well as the accountability

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) points out on constant lack of track record when it comes to the work of Prosecution, as well as on the fact that no measures are being undertaken in order to determine the accountability of prosecutors within the Prosecution, which limits the process of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of this state body.

Namely, CCE acquired information based on only two requests for free access to information which reveal serious problems of Prosecution in the establishment of required capacities for an efficient fight against all forms of crime.

CCE submitted following questions to Basic State Prosecution (BST) in Podgorica and Supreme State Prosecution (SSP): 1) what is the total number of formed files in the Supreme State Prosecution (or Basic State Prosecution in Podgorica), in the period 1/1/2015 till 30/04/2015; 2) what is the total number of screening actions initiated by SSP or BSP Podgorica during the same period, as well as their state of affairs, or whether they are finished or still in progress; 3) what is the total number of indictment proposals by the SSP and BSP Podgorica during the same period.

Supreme State Prosecution rejected the CCE request with an explanation that “it does not have a document which contains information requested, and that the access to information would require the creation of a new information”. CCE estimated that the inexistence of these documentations in SSP is of utmost concern, because it limits performance analysis of Prosecution and henceforth the introduction of any measures of intervention for the improvement of state.

Basic State Prosecution in Podgorica replied that during first four months of 2015 it formed 1,394 cases, whereby it made 174 indictment proposals during the same period, or 12.48%. When only indictments documents are analysed, we come up with the information that there are 146 indictment proposals that are yet to be confirmed or rejected in terms of acceptability for the court which is 10.46% out of the total number of cases, and just 28 indictments are being processed before Montenegrin courts or 2.01%. Based on this poor performance we could draw a conclusion that prosecutors are losing their primary role of those who process various forms of crimes before the courts and turn into “those who screen” instead.

Also, the fact that SSP does not have these information points out to the unequal practice of managing documentations within the Prosecution, which is a serious issue in terms of the systematisation of data and the analysis of work of Prosecution.

Finally, CCE believes that it is necessary to establish a system of accountability in the Prosecution, based on which much depends also when it comes to process of negotiations with the EU. Report on the work of State Prosecution from 2014 states: “Based on the control performed till the day of the preparation of report, no omissions that would present the basis for the initiation of a proceeding for the dismissal of a manager, or state prosecutor were determined”. That shows that no disciplinary proceeding has been conducted against any prosecutor, nor has it been determined that the same violated the Ethical code of prosecutors or the law, even though there were many instances in the public regarding the serious suspicions in the legality and code of conduct in the work of prosecutors.

Such system, where the results are lacking, as well as the accountability of prosecutors, raises the question of the existence of inappropriate influence of formal and informal centres of power on Prosecution. Lack of functional system of accountability of prosecutors and staff changes directly influences the efficiency of work of one of the key bodies in the establishment of rule of law in Montenegro. Last EC Progress report on Montenegro warned that the work on the establishment of disciplinary accountability must be more dedicated. Hence, the Prosecution requires systematic cuts that would contribute to the establishment of necessary accountability in the prosecuting organisation, from disciplinary to criminally-legal, and subsequently to the improvement of the performance of Prosecution.

Tamara Milaš, programme associate