The Civic Alliance calls for the immediate implementation of the recommendations published in the report of the Committee of the Council of Europe for the Prevention of Torture and Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) and reminds that on 15 June we sent a letter to the Government of Montenegro in order to approve its publication without further delay, having considering that a whole year has passed since the Committee’s visit. At the same time, the CA expresses deep concern about the allegations of unacceptable behavior of police officers that have been documented.
As was to be expected, the report clearly indicates inadequate treatment of detained and convicted persons, material conditions in prisons and police stations, but also serious cases of torture by police officers, and as it showed a regression in this area, and we expected to finally get out. from this problem. This treatment of police officers is a serious violation of human rights and is against all international standards.
It is especially unacceptable that police officers use the most brutal methods of abuse in their work when their role should be aimed exclusively at the protection and service of citizens, respecting the rights and dignity of each individual. Such behavior not only harms individuals who are in closed institutions but also undermines citizens’ confidence in institutions and the entire judicial system of Montenegro. Therefore, we invite all police officers to adhere to the highest standards of professionalism and ethics, respecting the human rights and dignity of every person they come into contact with.
The Civic Alliance demands immediate action by the competent authorities and serious consideration of the recommendations given in the report. Appropriate measures must be taken to improve material conditions, but also to establish a systematic practice of recording and reporting on cases of torture.
Unfortunately, this report shows that allegations about the treatment of police officers were not among the priorities of our institutions. That is why the situation is described in the CPT report and the responsibility of the authorities. We expect the Government to insist that this issue and the implementation of the recommendations given in the report gain strategic importance. The situation takes on an additional dose of seriousness, bearing in mind that we have several mechanisms for controlling the work of the police, which obviously did not do their best in preventing the brutal behavior of police officers. Therefore, it is vital that the competent authorities finally take responsibility for their implementation and take all necessary steps to ensure respect and full protection of the human rights of all detained or convicted persons.
We especially emphasize the need for more effective and thorough investigations into cases of abuse, torture, or inhumane treatment, as well as the immediate suspension of police officers against whom investigative proceedings have been initiated. It must be carried out in accordance with the highest standards of justice and transparency and must not be delayed without reason, as has often been the case so far.
In the end, citizens are the ones who are directly affected by the deficiencies in the judicial system of Montenegro and the increasingly frequent connection of representatives on important functions with criminal clans, which indicates deep systemic deficiencies that threaten citizens’ trust in the entire system of the rule of law, and therefore it is necessary to ensure that a secure mechanism for reporting cases of torture.
Because of all of the above, we must work diligently to prevent forms of torture, improve material conditions in closed institutions, and most importantly, create a system that guarantees respect for human rights.
The Civic Alliance will continue to monitor the actions of police officers and advocate for strengthening the rule of law and protecting citizens by monitoring closed institutions within the project “No impunity for violations of human rights in Montenegro”, financed by the European Union and co-financed by the Ministry of Public Administration. At the same time, we remind you that we founded the Human rights defenders group and that citizens can contact us if they themselves have suffered some form of torture or witnessed it.