Civic Alliance deems it unacceptable for police officers involved in the criminal act of abuse to be punished with house arrest, as in the case of Kojašević.
This continues the lenient sentencing policy of Montenegrin courts, which, by considering mitigating circumstances, reduces punishments to the legal minimum.
This judicial practice sends a message that abuse will not be adequately penalized and that police officers can return to their regular duties without consequences. The case of police inspector Slobodan Vulanović was similarly sentenced to four months of house arrest for delivering 30 blows to the head and body.
The powers of police officers established by the Criminal Procedure Code must adhere to European standards prohibiting torture. The practice of the European Court of Human Rights (Ribitsch v. Austria, Bouyid v. Belgium) indicates that the use of physical force against an individual in contact with law enforcement, which is not necessary for handling that person, degrades human dignity and, in principle, constitutes a violation of the prohibition of abuse. Considering that Kojašević, in this specific case, did not resist in any way and was unarmed, it is evident that this is a classic case of abuse, underscoring the seriousness of the situation and the need for a review of the verdict. Therefore, the mitigating circumstances in favor of the accused are unacceptable and do not provide the minimum guarantee that similar incidents will not recur upon the return to official duty.
This verdict raises serious doubts about accountability in cases of police torture, fostering an atmosphere of impunity and supporting an unacceptable form of behavior within the ranks of police officers. Such actions further erode citizens’ trust in law enforcement institutions and the judicial system. Consequently, more decisive steps are essential in punishing abuses of police officers’ powers to prevent their recurrence and restore citizens’ trust in our institutions.
Civic Alliance will continue to actively monitor cases of torture as part of the project „No Impunity for Human Rights Violations,“ supported by the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro.