Ministry of Interior to revise the decision on admission to ‘honorary’ citizenship

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) recently sent an Initiative to the Ministry of Interior requesting a revision of the decision on admission to Montenegrin citizenship under the simplified procedure, adopted in the period from 2008 to 2020, due to the fact that there is doubt that the mandatory legal procedure was violated during the adoption of most of these decisions, specifically in the part that refers to the proposers.

Namely, the Law on Citizenship, which has been in force since 2008, stipulates that on admission to Montenegrin citizenship, where there is a state or other interest of Montenegro, or the so-called honorary citizenship, decides the administrative body responsible for interior affairs, ie the Ministry of Interior, based on the proposal of the President of Montenegro, the President of the Parliament or the Prime Minister of Montenegro.

According to the data available to the CCE, from 26/05/2008 to 12/04/2020, a positive decision was made on the admission of a total of 390 people into so-called honorary Montenegrin citizenship. However, insight into these decisions indicates that in at least 204 cases the mandatory procedure was not followed, i.e. that these decisions were made on the basis of proposals of unauthorized proposers, most often ministers, what for CCE pointed out earlier as well.

Compared to the total number of available decisions, for two it is not possible to determine who the exact proposer is, whereas for 22 decisions the CCE does not have information about the proposers, which raises doubt that the number of the illegally acquired citizenships is higher.

In these cases, it is a significant violation of mandatory, which leads to illegality of citizenship itself.

Therefore, the CCE assesses that the Ministry of Interior is obliged, as the competent body, to review all decisions made so far and to determine based on applicable regulations, the Law on Citizenship and the Law on Administrative Procedure, whether there are reasons for their annulment, and to inform the public about the outcome of the procedure after the conducted procedure.

The CCE emphasizes the public interest in this way to deviate from the illegal practices of previous leaders of the Ministry of Interior, but also to path the way for correcting irregularities which put certain persons in a privileged position compared to others, who acquired citizenship in a regular, complex and significantly more time-consuming procedure.

Damir Suljević, Programme Associate