Torture is still an issue in Montenegrin society

Centre for Civic Education (CCE), on the occasion of 26 June – International Day in Support of Victims of Torture – calls upon the competent authorities to consider the results achieved so far and undertake measures in order to improve the implementation of law and ratified international acts in this area.

Data from international reports indicate to victims of torture or abuse in Montenegro, as well as that Montenegrin courts do not fully apply national laws and that they misinterpret international humanitarian law in verdicts. Instances of torture against persons in prisons, detentions, neuropsychiatry and social institutions, as well as in refugee camps, remain inadequately processed. Also, it is important to indicate on the threat of increase of new forms of torture which are reflected in the instances of domestic and increasing peer violence.

CCE reminds of one of the most publically known case of torture against the deceased Aleksandar Pejanović, who was brutally beaten on two occasions in 2008 by the members of special intervention unit of police in detention unit in Podgorica, which essentially remained unresolved to date. Additionally, the performance of Montenegro in the prosecution of war crimes, committed during the nineties, as well as the relation towards the victims of those crimes is of the highest concern, remains rather modest as noted by the European Commission and European Parliament.

CCE estimates that more has to be done in order to create the conditions for the establishment of new mechanisms in the fight against torture in any form, as well as to stimulate a more efficient cooperation between the institutions and NGO sector. Also, CCE points out that inefficient prosecution by Montenegrin judicial institutions, which results in suspended sentences and often in mitigated sanctions, promotes impunity, incites torture and abuse, violates international standards of respect of human rights and thereby questions the capacity of judicial bodies in the process of establishment of rule of law.

Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment was adopted by the UN in 1984, and in addition to this Convention against all forms of torture, Montenegro is obliged by the Optional Protocol to the Convention against torture, based on which the system of supervision of prison and detention units was formed by the Subcommittee on the prevention of torture.

Tamara Milaš, programme associate