Examination of the statements from SAI report on judiciary should be Prosecutions’s prority

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) today submitted a criminal charge to the Supreme State Prosecutor, Ivica Stankovic, against all members of the Judicial Council, President of the Supreme, Appellate, Administrative and Commercial Courts, higher courts in Podgorica and Bijelo Polje, all misdemeanor courts and almost all basic courts except the two basic courts (in Bijelo Polje and Berane), based on the reasonable doubt that their actions acquired essential elements of the criminal offenses – abuse of official positions and working negligently in service or other offense prosecuted ex officio.

Based on the published Report on Financial Audit and Regularity Audit of the Operations of the Spending Unit Judiciary for 2019 by the State Audit Institution (SAI) which gave a negative opinion on the regularity audit and a conditional opinion on the audit of the Annual Financial Report of the Spending Unit Judiciary for 2019, the CCE has already reacted publicly and pointed to serious omissions that require accountability and resignations in the judiciary.

Unfortunately, neither the accountability of the judiciary was determined nor did the Prosecution react, although the SAI report undoubtedly had to draw attention of the Prosecution for professional reasons. Given the scope of violations of legal provisions and bylaws, as well as the position of the judiciary in the system, Prosecution was expected to act ex officio. This would include urgent and priority consideration of the SAI report, as well as the actions of the competent prosecutor’s offices to determine the all facts about the presented evidence and the merits of the suspicions expressed in order to protect the legal and social order of Montenegro.

The CCE assesses that a comprehensive review of the SAI report brings to light significant deficiencies in financial management that require accountability of the heads of the judiciary. Therefore, the obligation of the Prosecution is to examine this case, particularly having in mind the scope of violations of the law and other identified irregularities by those who should be law protectors, as well as the damage caused to the state budget.

The CCE urges other stakeholders to engage in order to shed light on responsibility and determine sanctions for the inadmissible attitude of the court management in the law enforcement, which further undermines public trust in this branch of government.

Tamara Milas, Human Rights Programme Coordinator