Reaction of the Coalition for the rights of LGBTIQ+ PERSONS – EQUALLY: Velibor Marković can not be in the Commission

Today, several non-governmental organizations have addressed the President of the state and President of the Government regarding the proposal that Velibor Marković, known for his homophobic and misogynist attitudes, becomes a member of the Commission for examination of the compliance of the provisions of fundamental agreement with the legal system of Montenegro.

Following is the integral letter that was directed to them.

Honorable President of Montenegro,
Honorable President of the Government of Montenegro,

The Coalition for the rights of LGBTIQ+ Persons – EQUALLY expresses concern and dissatisfaction with the appointment of lawyer Velibor Marković, known in the public for his continuous hate speech against LGBT persons and women, as a member of the Commission tasked with examining the compliance of the provisions of the Fundamental Agreement between the State of Montenegro and the Serbian Orthodox Church with the legal system of Montenegro.

We remind that on 24 November 2020, the Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms, acting on the basis of report from several organizations, has issued an Opinion in which it was concluded that lawyer Marković’s announcements represented hate speech, i.e. a crude form of discrimination, and by which, among other things, it was recommended to him to “issue a public apology to members of the LGBTIQ population and advocates of their rights”, which he refused to do.

In addition, the Centre for Women’s Rights has on 27/7/2020 filed a report against lawyer Marković to Bar Association of Montenegro for violating the Code of Professional Ethics of Lawyers. The report was supported by a significant number of reputable non-governmental organizations which are included also in the EQUALLY coalition. Unfortunately, the Bar Association did not respond to the afore-mentioned report even after several urging letters, thus rendering meaningless the provisions of the above-mentioned Code that stipulate the duty of a lawyer that “while performing the legal profession, in other public activities and in private life, when it is available for insight and assessment of the public, he/she shall safeguard the reputation of the legal profession and his/her own reputation and strive to contribute to the general juridical  culture”.

We estimate that it is necessary that in all bodies of public interest, the members should be persons of knowledge and integrity, who stand behind the official value determinations of Montenegro with their views and actions. Anything contrary to this practice renders meaningless our European path and the values on which a democratic society relies.

Since Velibor Marković did not express remorse in the previous period, nor did he issue an apology for hate speech, we are of the opinion that he should not participate in the work of bodies of public interest, because this is in direct opposition to the rule of law and European values that you are referring in your statements.

Member organizations of the Coalition for the Rights of LGBTIQ+ Persons – EQUALITY:

Association “Spectra”
Centre for Women’s Rights
Queer Montenegro
Centre for Civic Education (CCE)
Centre for Monitoring and Research (CEMI)
SOS Podgorica
Human Rights Action