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TRAINING FOR THE POLICE, PROSECUTORS AND JUDGES ON EFFECTIVE INVESTIGATION OF TORTURE AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

With great interest and presence of participants, the Civic Alliance successfully held a training on the topic of effective investigation of torture and human rights violations for representatives of the Police Administration, prosecutors and judges in the period from October 16 to 18.

The training includes three modules:

The rights and obligations of persons deprived of liberty and why they are a vulnerable category;
The meaning and practical application of standards and requirements derived from Articles 3, 5, 6 and 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights;
The role and importance of the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) in the protection of human rights and the importance of the accessibility of closed institutions for monitoring by NGO organizations.

The training was opened by the Ombudsman of Montenegro, Siniša Bjeković, who presented the role of the Ombudsman institution in preventing human rights violations, with a focus on persons deprived of their liberty. He pointed out that they receive the largest number of complaints from victims of torture and that very often the civil sector is the first to discover allegations about this issue. He reminded of the Milić/Nikezić cases when our courts did not establish or even suspect torture, while only the institution of the Protector found allegations of torture. It is also torture when the conditions in the detention facilities are of such a nature that they offend the basic principles of humanity. Accordingly, he also presented the work of the NPM body in the monitoring of detention facilities.

State prosecutor Danka Ivanović Đerić pointed out that with such a large number of torture cases, we cannot enter the European Union. She explained the concept of torture, who can be the perpetrator and what is the role of the prosecutor’s office in the prosecution, that is, the initiation of the investigation. She also talked about the problems prosecutors face in terms of material conditions, such as the lack of adequate rooms for interviews and what it is like to fight torture from the prosecutor’s point of view. Until we deal with the fact that some of our colleagues are responsible for abuse, we cannot expect to eradicate this problem, Đerić pointed out, and that our penal policy is too lenient.

The representative of Montenegro before the ECtHR, Valentina Pavličić, spoke about the explanation of the legal reasons for determining and extending detention in accordance with the convention standards and examples from the ECtHR’s practice, with special reference to the explanation in accordance with Article 5, paragraph 1 and 3 of the Convention. The representative believes that as a system we have not given an adequate response to the issue of eliminating torture and as a state we must obey the practice of the ECtHR. She also reminded that states have an obligation to organize their judicial systems in such a way that their courts can meet the standards provided by the Convention, as well as that the norm must be set as a living instrument.

Through concrete examples from the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court, the judge of the Constitutional Court, Snezana Armenko, talked about the above-mentioned articles of the Convention, through material and procedural aspects. She referred to Article 3 and the fact that continuous ill-treatment of a certain person, due to its intensity, duration, condition of the victim and other characteristics and circumstances, can in its totality reach the minimum level of cruelty that constitutes a violation of Article 3 of the Convention, although each such individual action would not constitute a violation of Article 3 of the Convention, especially if there is no adequate reaction of the competent authorities to investigate such attacks and prevent such actions.

The deputy ombudsman, Mirjana Radović, and adviser Mensur Bošnjak, also members of the NPM, talked about the work of that body and its role in uncovering elements of torture. They mentioned one of the indicators for abuse, which the CPT also pointed out to us – when a person gives a self-incriminating statement in front of an inspector, but not in front of a prosecutor. They also stated the importance of the doctor’s examinations being performed only in the visual and not in the auditory field of the police officer. On the other hand, they pointed to the problems faced by police officers: lack of staff, sick leave, spatial capacities…

Regarding mistakes in handling, Radović and Bošnjak pointed out that 99% of them happened because they were not initially corrected when it could have been done. Up-to-date and complete record-keeping related to the access of citizens who access the premises of the Police Administration for the purpose of providing information in their capacity as citizens is one of the mechanisms by which the legality of deprivation of liberty is assessed. It is necessary to provide special rooms for interrogation and equip them with audio and/or video recording, considering that the existence of those rooms represents a form of preventive action and a significant measure of protection of persons deprived of their liberty from possible illegal actions of police officers, they concluded.

The activity is part of the project “Without impunity for violations and violations of human rights in Montenegro”, which is supported by the Delegation of the European Union in Montenegro and co-financed by the Ministry of Public Administration.

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