Centre for Civic Education (CCE) welcomes the decision of Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic to dismiss the current Minister of Justice, Vladimir Leposavic, who denied that genocide occurred in Srebrenica and at the same time made meaningless the commitment of Montenegro to respect the decisions of international courts, such as the Hague Tribunal (ICTY), as well as binding international documents.
Leposavić’s statement undoubtedly caused enormous damage to Montenegro internally and externally and it was logical to have his resignation. As he did not demonstrate that level of accountability, the CCE assesses that the decision of Prime Minister Krivokapić to dismiss him is responsible, i.e. to initiate this procedure of the Parliament of Montenegro and that it will hopefully have sufficient support.
As a reminder, last week, the CCE sent an appeal to the Government of Montenegro to urgently dismiss the Minister of Justice Leposavic, if he does not resign, but also called on the MPs to do so within their competences. Denying crimes, manipulating numbers, fuelling the heated atmosphere in Montenegrin society does not stop the cycle of violence, but creates a fertile ground for some new violent stumbles.
CCE expresses hope that the Prime Minister will propose a person with adequate professional references for the new Minister of this department, but also fundamental humanistic and civic values necessary for the development of the culture of human and minority rights, honest dealing with the past, dynamizing Montenegro’s progress towards EU membership as well as fostering healthy regional relations and regional reconciliation.
The CCE will continue to contribute with its critical and constructive approach to the process of establishing transitional justice, no matter how challenging and often inhibited by the resistance of the competent institutions, but also criticism of some social structures. Therefore, we highly appreciate this decision of the Prime Minister, because the success in the Europeanization of Montenegro is measured by the credibility and professional integrity of the people who are part of the negotiation process, in which the Ministry of Justice, Human and Minority Rights is an important link. Within these structures, particularly within managerial positions, should be no place for those who deny the crime, the decisions of international courts and turn a deaf ear to respect for international documents.
Tamara Milaš, Human Rights Programme Coordinator