Basic State Prosecutor must deal with case of Minister Vlahovic in accordance with the law

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) welcomes decision of the Higer State Prosecution, which has, in acting upon the CCE complaint, ordered the Basic State Prosecution in Podgorica “to ascertain all facts relevant for passing a correct and lawful decision in the present criminal legal matter, and to subsequently pass a merit based decision”. This decision has been delivered to the CCE today, although according to the document it can be seen that it was made almost 20 days ago.

In this manner, it was proven that the Basic State Prosecutor, unfortunately, has not been acting according to the law when it dismissed criminal charges of the CCE against Sanja Vlahovic, Minister of Science, on suspicion of having committed a criminal offense of unauthorized use of copyright work and fraud.

CCE has filed criminal charges in January 2015, and the responsible Basic Prosecutor in Podgorica Vukas Radonjic has, at the end of August 2015, after eight months of working on this file, as CCE has argued, brought an illegal and unprofessional decision. Consequently, the CCE has immediately submitted to the Higher State Prosecutor a complaint about this, stating that the case involves criminal offenses over a prolonged period which completely undermines decision of Radonjic by which he has established existence of the alleged statute of limitation. Justification of this complaint was confirmed by the Deputy Higher State Prosecutor Olivera Raznatovic. She has, in the letter Ktr. No. 888/15 of 02/10/2015, among other, noted that “upon conducting an insight in the case files Kt No. 262/15, it was established that the said decision is based on an incomplete factual findings with regard to determining time of occurrence of statute of limitation of criminal prosecution”. It is precisely thereby that the Higher State Prosecution has abolished the basis of earlier Radonjic’s rejection of criminal charges.

CCE estimates that it is encouraging that the Higher State Prosecution has, in the Montenegrin context in which improper political influence on the judiciary has been identified even by relevant international reports, nevertheless, abolished a clearly politicized decision against high government official. The outcome of this case before the Montenegrin judicial authorities will be one of the important parameters by which degree of professionalism, independence and legality of work of these bodies will be measured regardless of who is the subject of criminal charges.

CCE will carefully monitor further actions of the Prosecution in this case. Furthermore, CCE will be working intensively and devotedly on pointing out to the similar forms of criminal offenses, especially when it comes to officials of all three branches of government and university professors for whom there is a suspicion that they have plagiarized their academic papers.

Daliborka Uljarevic, executive director