Impose disciplinary punishment to the bailif and stop injustice to Ibrahim Čikić

Today, the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) submitted a complaint to the Chamber of bailiffs against the work of the bailiff Dejan Čogurić , requesting the President of that Chamber to act under the Law on Bailiffs and to urgently submit a proposal for initiating disciplinary proceedings against this bailiff for the unlawful performance of its bailiff’s activities, causing immeasurable damage to Ibrahim Čikić.

CCE reminds that Ibrahim Čikić, a peace activist and human rights defender, experienced great suffering​​ in prison in Bijelo Polje in the 1990s and wrote a book about it, which represents a shocking personal and social testimony about those times. Unfortunately, the victimization continued after publishing that testimony, which was accompanied by court proceedings in which he was sued by those he named as torturers. He won these cases, but even today he experiences inconveniences that can indicate system shortcomings and lack of professionalism of certain actors of the system.

More precisely, on 22/10/2020, the bailiff Dejan Čogurić from Bijelo Polje brought Decision no. 2347/20 on the enforceable matter of the enforcement creditor Tomislav Karišik against Ibrahim Čikić as the enforcement debtor. This decision was passed in an unlawful manner because the bailiff Čogurić did not establish the complete factual situation, which violated Article 9 of the Code of Ethics of Bailiffs, i.e. the principle of legality. Namely, the bailiff issued the decision on enforcement based on the judgment of the Basic Court in Bijelo Polje passed in 2015, which was later annulled in the appeal procedure conducted by Čikić.

Also, the bailiff was obliged, in case of doubt in the authenticity of the writ of execution, to check all the files before initiating the enforcement procedure, which this bailiff did not do after the proposal submission by the lawyer of Karišik. Such suspicion must have existed given that both the bailiff Čogurić and Ibrahim Čikić live in a relatively small town, that this case got considerable media attention, which included information on the outcome of the constitutional complaint and the repeated procedure, in addition to what carries the spread of information in a city of that size and in the Montenegrin environment. That, along with the fact that the bailiff has not received the judgment of the Basic Court from 2015 from Karišik until October 2020, must have raised additional doubts about its validity.

If the bailiff Čogurić had checked the file following the regulations, he would have indisputably determined from the final decision of the High Court from 2018 that Čikić did not owe anything to Karišik. Thus, the bailiff also violated Article 5 of the Code of Ethics of Bailiffs because he did not perform his activity conscientiously, nor acted reasonably, decisively and timely, with respect to the presonality and the rights of the parties in the procedure.

Čikić’s lawyer submitted a complaint regarding the Enforcement of Decision issued by bailiff Čogurić, which must be adopted in court proceedings. However, such conduct of the bailiff is inadmissible, as it continues to harass and victimize Ibrahim Čikić, a victim of torture and longtime unnecessary court proceedings, through illegal and unconscionable conduct, which should be checked by the Chamber and the Ministry of Justice.

CCE expects that the Chamber of bailiffs and the Ministry of Justice will address this case as a priority and that they will initiate disciplinary proceedings against the bailiff Čogurić. That would contribute to making up for part of the injustice that Čikić suffers, but also prevent possible similar cases.

Tamara Milaš, Human Rights Programme Coordinator