Arrogant investor continues to provoke locals, court and Prosecutor’s Office unusually slow

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) expresses concern over the fact that the privileged concessionaire “Dekar” and “Dekar Energy”, owned by Momcilo Miranovic, arbitrarily returned workers to the construction site for the construction of a mini-hydropower plant (MHP) on the river Cestogaz, in the village of Kraljske bare, the municipality of Kolasin, and contrary to the will of the local population protesting for months. For the construction of MHP on that river, this investor has not obtained a concession or a building permit.

In this way, Miranovic provokes locals who protest day and night for months to protect the natural good – the watercourses of the rivers Crnja, Ljubastica, Cestogaz and Crni potok, and possibly tries to artificially create costs to later try to compensate. For the construction of MHP on the river Cestogaz, this investor has not received a concession or a building permit, and the workers that Miranović and his partner, Igor Masovic, sent from Andrijevica these days to work there, do not have any evidence that they can build, no decision of the competent authority, nor a construction diary, and there is no manager or supervisory authority. Miranovic’s arbitrariness to build without adequate documentation is unbelievable, while criminal proceedings are underway for criminal thefts of a protected natural asset and a private lawsuit in a lawsuit for disturbing property in this area along watercourses.

CCE points out that the actions of the court and prosecutor’s office in Kolasin, which have not yet decided on criminal charges and lawsuits initiated since July by locals, the Local Community of Kraljska Bara and non-governmental organizations against Dekar and Dekar Energy, are also indicative. It is not known at what stage these proceedings are, or if the required temporary measures taken to disturb the property of one of the co-owners whose plot the said company injured and devastated. The locals are desperate and powerless, because the institutions do not hear them and do not react. The prosecution and the court in such a sensitive situation do not act professionally promptly, although it is clear that they have material that they should ex officio submit to the Special State Prosecutor’s Office. The CCE points out that the Basic Court in Kolasin has three judges, and only a few prosecutors work in the Basic State Prosecutor’s Office, so the question arises whether they have been influenced by them to procrastinate with these cases.

As a reminder, the right of citizens to a healthy environment is proclaimed by the Constitution of Montenegro, as the highest legal act of this country, and numerous international legal acts in the field of environmental protection and spatial planning. It is exactly this right that is threatened by the arrogant concessionaire.

CCE has repeatedly asked the Ministry of Economy to terminate the harmful concession agreements for these rivers, as there was a legal and accompanying basis for that. It is not the responsibility of the Ministry of Economy to protect the concessionaire or to ensure the consent of the local population that it can be built. If there is no consent of the locals, the outgoing minister, Dragica Sekulic, had to terminate such concession agreements. The media also noted her surprise with the situation on the ground when she visited these watercourses before the parliamentary elections, so the inaction of the Ministry she manages is even stranger.

CCE also requested the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism to review the legality of issued building permits for the construction of MHPs “Crnja”, “Crni potok” and “Ljubastica”, i.e. water consent given for the issuance of a building permit, estimating from the existing documentation that there were not any geological research project on these watercourses.

All this requires a deeper analysis of possible criminal association and review of the agreed concessions before the judicial authorities, and the CCE also filed a lawsuit with the Administrative Court against MORT for an illegal decision made on the CCE Proposal to annul the decision on issued building permits no. 4403/10; 05-4404 / 10 and 054405/10 from 9 December 2011.

CCE calls on State Prosecutor’s Office to urgently review the concession agreements relating to these three rivers, a tributary of the UNESCO-protected Tara, as well as the process of issuing building permits for them, and in particular to determine whether there is a criminal association in stealing water from the Cestogaza River which is located in the Komovi Regional Nature Park.

CCE will continue to monitor this issue vigilantly in support of the locals.

Snezana Kaludjerovic, Senior legal advisor