Will Special Prosecution resolve the misteries regarding the awarding of honorary citizenships?

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) welcomes the decision of Special State Prosecution to check the procedure in which 82 honorary citizenships were awarded. Namely, CCE previously indicated that the said citizenships are contentious in terms of the procedure prescribed by Law on Montenegrin citizenships, even though CCE was informed on this decision via the means of public informing and not directly as the submitter of complaint.

CCE has been working on this issue for almost a year now and within the activities related to this matter it published a list of all honorary citizenships awarded in Montenegro, as well as the addition to the same with the information for 2016. Initially, the Prosecution refused to take a specific stand on this matter and practically adopted the explanation of Ministry of Interior without any conducted investigative action, to which CCE pointed out to higher instances within the Prosecution based on legally determined procedures.

Recent developments brings hope that facts will be ascertained, as well as who in the Ministry of Interior and in which manner implemented the law, and that the ones who are responsible and who caused the misuse of provisions of Law on Montenegrin citizenship will be processed. This would restore the necessary legitimacy to the institute of so called honorary citizenship and prevent further manipulations in this domain.

As a reminder, last year CCE filed a criminal complaint to Special State Prosecutor, as well as the Request for the annulment of decisions for 82 honorary citizenships issued by the Ministry of Interior, for reasons of nullity. However, this did not get the adequate understanding of both sides who refused to take the measures and actions to render this issue within legal framework. Namely, the Ministry of Interior as competent body, during the issuing of the decision on the reception into the honorary citizenship, interpreted the law creatively and allowed those who are not legally authorised to award honorary citizenships, since the Law on Montenegrin citizenship recognise only three persons who are allowed to do so, with the opinion of the competent body (President of state, Prime Minister and President of Parliament). Namely, the Ministry of Interior allowed also those who are not recognised in that capacity to submit the proposals. Thereby, every contentious decision was adopted without the adequate explanation for the reception in citizenship, which is one of the legal obligations.

The CCE will continue to monitor the work of the Prosecution in this matter, but it will also initiate the communication with new Minister of Interior Goran Danilović in order to draw his attention directly to the importance of this issue, as well as the responsibility of the Ministry of Interior to rectify the injustice towards every citizen who was rejected, and who had previous grounds to be awarded with such citizenship, while others were enjoyed the perks of honorary citizenships in spite of no clear reasons as to why it would be the case.

Mira Popović, programme associate