Why are citizens paying mistakes of the judiciary system?

Regarding the information from today’s media, that Dusko Saric and Jovica Loncar are claiming €400 000 from the country of Montenegro for unfounded deprivation of liberty, the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) reminds that this example represents not an incident but a more frequently occurring practice which is a result of also underived system of responsibility in the judiciary. CCE has pointed to this also in the recently published analysis ‘Unfounded deprivation of liberty – detention as a rule instead of being an exception’.

Namely, Ministry of Justice has in the previous nine years received even 1359 request for conclusion of Agreement on compensation of damage due to unfounded deprivation of liberty, and has concluded 335 agreements according to which it has paid the total of €1.070.460,00. Additionally, as per cases which have not been resolved by achieved agreement with the Ministry of Justice, but via court way, i.e. by initiating a litigation proceeding via lawsuit against the state, the Ministry of Finance has as per court verdicts paid €10.381.021,01. In short, around 11.5 million Euros (€11.451.481,01) the state of Montenegro has paid for unfounded deprivation of liberty in last nine years.

Furthermore, according to information that CCE receives from citizens, and also from some lawyers, Ministry of Justice is in large number of cases omitting to respond to the submitted request in legal deadline of three months. Thus, conditions are automatically being created for initiation of litigation proceedings via lawsuit against the state. This creates multiple burdens for functioning of the system, both in financial and in the sense of backlog of work of the already burdened courts.

A fact is also concerning that even the claims of citizens as per this basis are becoming a part of judiciary practice. There is no system for determination of responsibilities for such expenses, and serious and harmful consequences for entire system of rule of law are indisputable.

System of functional disciplinary responsibilities in judicial organisation would contribute to improvement of performance of judiciary and prosecution because non-sanctioning of judges or prosecutors who have made a certain omission to the service and to the entire reputation of holders of judiciary functions.

Tamara Milas, CCE Programme Associate